Malacca Caning

28 Jan

Well, the pain of naviagting the crowded, shifty, current-plagued Malacca Strait is well underway

Who survives to lead the feelt into the South China Sea is anyone's guess.

Here's the assessment from Groupama:

It's an area where there isn't a lot of wind: it's very hot and very humid since we're close to the equator (2° North) and there are some tidal currents which can reach five knots, in addition to the general current generated by the monsoon and hence running against us. It'll be a tedious navigation with a great deal of shipping, pirates and lots of rubbish in the water (wood, crates, plastic, nets…). This second third of the course to China will require us to come out of this unscathed, which also means within contact of the fleet.

The landscape near the coast is fabulous, reminiscent of Brest's harbour area in the tropics, but we've performed a great deal of manoeuvres since we entered the Straits of Malacca: it's exhausting because you have to restack all the sails each time, which equate to nearly 2.5 tonnes! We've had to contend with headwinds and less strong currents: it's hard-going physically, especially in the heat, as it was necessary to break the sleep pattern, because everyone was needed on deck. The manoeuvres are painful, longer and the fatigue is piling up… The two leaders have got away from us a bit, but we've come back within sight of Camper, which got a bit of an edge over us when we got a few plastic bags caught around the appendages. There are a lot of things floating about in the water!

Won't be surprising if some of the crews are half-mad after running the length of this tunnel or torture. I wonder how many would give their right hand to be down in the Southern Ocean right now, running at 30 knots before a big breeze.

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