On 23 April former INTERTANKO Chairman Richard du Moulin, sailing non-stop
from Hong Kong to New York, celebrated a major milestone as Great American II
navigated clear of the dangers of South Africa's treacherous Agulhas Current
and entered the Atlantic Ocean.
Richard du Moulin, together with skipper Rich Wilson, reported that their
53-foot trimaran Great American II was just 74 nautical miles south of Cape
Town, enjoying moderate winds and seas as they headed northwest for New York
before a following breeze.
In their 11-week-long 15,000-mile voyage the sailors are aiming to break the
154-year-old passage record set by the extreme New York clipper ship Sea
Witch, which raced her cargo of tea to Manhattan's waiting markets in 74
"It feels like we have been trying to round Cape Agulhas, the southernmost
point of the African continent, for the entire voyage," Richard du Moulin
reported. "The past week has been an endless battle against winds that were
too light or too strong, and always from the wrong direction: west. With the
Agulhas Current pushing us strongly we were always able to make positive
distance every day, but the westerly winds against the current sometimes made
for very unpleasant waves."
It is well known that the sea conditions in the
strong-flowing easterly current on the Agulhas Bank can be appalling when
powerful westerly winds generate giant, steep waves with a confused wave
pattern. Huge ships have been known to break in half and, comparable to
rogue waves, there are rogue holes that ships can plunge into.
Richard du Moulin estimated they were 90 miles ahead of the position reported
for the Sea Witch, which also rounded the Cape on her 37th day at sea.
If Great American II can beat Sea Witch
's pace, the boat will arrive in New
York sometime in the week of 26 May.
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