SLOVENKA Silver keeps us going as the Kiwis turn up the heat

Every three hours we receive a small text file containing the positions of
all the boats in the fleet, as you can imagine our life on board revolves
around the time we receive the file, simply referred to as ping o'clock,
so it covers all 6 ping times of the day.

Each time we receive the file we plot it on our navigation software, so we
can work out how many miles each boat has travelled in the past three
hours and on what course over ground.

Admittedly, since the doldrums this has been a little boring, a bit of a
drag race. There have been no changes in the rankings since we were a few
days in the race near the coast of Africa!!!

As I point my finger on the spinning globe my childhood dream unfolds

I have totally lost count of the days, we are into the 4th week at sea I
believe, last night i had to wear a thermal as it is starting to get
chilly at night, i still find it amusing to see the weather changing as we
move on the globe.... you start somewhere on the planet, with a certain
weather, sail south and feel the weather getting warmer, sail west and the
sun sets later to raise later. Then keep going, it gets horribly hot, then
not so hot again, then as you go east your sunrises and sunsets shift
again as you move...

The logistics of love at the Global Ocean Race

Yesteday we sighted our first big whale, the large back curved less than
a hundred meters from the boat, the tail followed as the enormous mammal
sunk again in the depth of the ocean, then it emerged once more, shame I
was not quick enough to get the camera.

Oxford to Dover on a Jag at 4am on a sunday morning

We are sailing along at great speeds, everyone is, the image I have is that of a track of greyhounds on a race day running and running, tongues out, lots of enthusiasm but probably little thought process going on... We came out of the Fernando da Norunha gate and everyone was heading south like the plague had just broken out north of the equator... now you know there's some pretty experienced people out there at the front so there must be a reason, Halvard Mabire and Ross Field can kick Chuck Norris's ass (clearly only in an imaginary sailing only world). We looked at the forecast and it became clear what those two mad dogs were doing, running down with foaming mouths to squeeze ahead of the high pressure that is forming somewhere further down in South America.

Trade winds make for some truly First Class Sailing!

We'be been at sea exactly three weeks today and we've just passed the
island of Fernnando da Noronha, which we had to leave to port to pass
through the Fastnet Marine scoring gate.

We are currently holding 4th position, which suits us as we are still
leading the pack of generation one boats and are still within 100 miles of
Cessna Citation, the brand new Akilaria RC2, the newer version of our
boat.

The race so far has been an amazing experience with lots of variety in
this leg, the exit from the med, the African coast, the Canaries, the Cape
Verde archipelago, trade wind sailing, the dreaded Doldrums and now some
Brazilian paradise island to round to port...

We're very much looking forward to this second half of the race, and see
what the weather has in stock for us, it w

Across the equator thanks to the generosity of strangers

Today is a special day of the Global Ocean Race on board Financial Crisis: our team composed by Marco Nannini, Paul Peggs and Clubby the Seal officially crossed the equator and into the Southern Hemisphere. Paul had crossed the equator before in the Mini Transat 2001 and so he was master of ceremonies in paying our tributes to Neptune. This was no grand lavish affair but rather the pouring of the only bottle of beer on board into the blue ocean, brought all the way here just for this occasion, we hope Neptune will close an eye to our cheap offering. Paul and I dont drink when racing, Clubby on the other hand is just a freaking liar when he say he doesn't, but we love Clubby in all his imperfections.

Financial Crisis celebrates end of Doldrums

Last night we finally sailed our way out of the doldrums which lived up to
their expectation until the last mile. Sailing at night we were monitoring
large clouds on the radar and sailed through this massive expanse about
8-10 miles across, too big to avoid, the winds piped up to 25 knots, we
took two reefs and then witnessed the most prolonged intense downpour of
rain i've ever seen...

Look at me look at me, coffee tea or me?

Giusy, Clubby's latest fling, has seemingly decided to move in with us on a
permanent basis. Showing no fear and no respect, she's one attention seeking
annoying little princess, it turns out she works in the fashion industry, does
some modelling and acting and is used to the finer things. Tall and slim she eats
very little but shits a lot, which suggests she may be on a laxatives diet, I
confronted her about it but she says it's none of my business.

Clubby meets Giusy whilst crew wait for winds

Clubby has a few cards in his flipper when it comes to charming the
ladies, this morning wasting no time he was seen on deck having a long
romantic walk with the bird he pulled last night, who clearly has fallen
for his charm and stench of rotten flying fish. She's been here 24 hours
and shows no fear of us, nor more surprisingly of Clubby, whose intentions
are questionable.

"Giusy is a very sweet bird" said Clubby straight away "and she's well
fit, tall and slim, so lucky to have met her in the middle of this
wilderness, I had had enough time with those two fatsos i'm stuck with on
board, all they talk about is freaking sailing, yada, yada, yada, pull
this rope, pull that rope, BORING!

A windless slop makes doldrums a dull place

Bird came by, looking sad and pissed off like any of us in the doldrums,
perched on the bowsprit it has not muttered a word all day, probably flew
thousands of miles and only just realised it's not this week he's due to
be at the conference in Rio but the next. It happens when you're tired.

Today was a very slow day, so slow that jokes made yesterday have not yet
been understood. We knew we had to go through this light patch but we
hoped we'd keep moving. We worked three days to get closer to Cessna, at
0900 we were again just 66 miles behind and closing in.

Then we stopped in a windless slop where the only 2-3 knots of breeze came
from where we wanted to go to, and so light was the air that we could only
sail at 90 degrees left or right of where we were headed.

Finally into the trade winds

The struggle to reach the stable trade winds seems to have lasted an
eternity, the fleet progress has been very slow compared to the schedule
we had imagined when leaving Punta del Este and only Cessna at the front
has been keeping steady averages since reaching these steady winds a day
ahead of us.

So far and for several days we seemed to have fairly stable winds at night
then we'd get stopped during the day in flukey winds and sudden rain
showers caused presumably by the high temperatures and moist air becoming
unstable. This morning for the first time the winds held strong after
sunrise and the sky is unmistakeably changed, little white fluffy clouds
are scattered regularly around instead of massive cumulus formations
typical of the unstable air masses of the last few days, see the photo for
an example.

We've emerged from this section of the race in second place squeezing a
lead of 60 miles over Phesheya, our gamble to go offshore at Cabo Frio
paid off eventually. I think we can now expect a drag race to the doldrums
where things could get shaken again. I may be wrong so we'll certainly
keep a watchful eye on the Dutch and the Southafrincans and try cover our
backs from a likely attack...

We had a few issues with the NKE electronics suddenly losing the boat
speed reading, then the compass reading, all misteriously working again by
simply powering off an on the system, luckily all the problems occurred
in light airs and not while sailing with the big spinnaker in strong winds
like during leg 3 when a similar failure caused the boat to go off in a
big gybe resulting in the big spinnaker to be torn in half (and
subsequently repaired in Punta del Este).

Another misterious source of worry came from the primary alternator we
rely on to charge the batteries, for 2 consecutive days it seemed to have
given up the ghost, only to wake up gingerly this morning and resume
service as if nothing had ever happened.

So far, save for a spinnaker sheet which I quite stupidly lost overboard
during a manouvre we havent really had any damage or serious problems,
let's hope things carry on like this to make Charleston a stress free and
cheap stopover. The budget has long ago been totally depleted. In Punta we
were being hosted in free accommodation by the Yacht Club Punta del Este
and for the other expenses i relied on the generosity of many readers who
have sent donations through www.marconannini.com/help which i'm very
grateful for. We're hoping to find a host family during our relatively
brief Charleston stopover and hopefully the price of food will be no where
near the inflated prices of Punta del Este where an espresso could cost
over 3 euros! For now we're getting in the swing of our freeze dried diet,
the last fresh item, an apple, was eaten yesterday.