>Bayonets fixed & ready in Fiji

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Awaiting the right weather to go south to New Zealand from Vuda Point, Fiji – while Jessica Watson enjoys a developing southerly from the low off New Zealand thats beneficial in the extreme for her and detrimental for us…

Waiting in port made me think of something I wrote in my journal:

“It used to be a geographical exploration over the visible horizon to find new worlds. At one time, the sole objective was to learn whether the planet was round or flat.

Technology enabled us to visit every corner and scale every mountain on Earth. Today, exploration offshore is less about the geographical course than utilizing the challenge as a tool – a mirror to look at our mental and spiritual dimensions, for the purpose of understanding ourselves while learning to go further still.

Sailors in the dawn of the 21st century breached awesome barriers of speed and endurance. This mastery of speed has arisen via new technologies and vast experience.

Sailing is the ‘oldest sport’ – (example: the America’s Cup). And sailing is the only sporting discipline to have doubled it’s speed in ten years. Formula-1 doesn’t come close.

Like the evolution of computer processing speed, advancement doesn’t grow incrementally but arises exponentially, because like the Earth – so many facets comprise the sum of it’s parts.

Each of the new technical breakthroughs have rollover effects that enable load reductions aboard the boats – further reducing drag and so it goes. Thus, the increasing speed potential of the yacht enables it to lock into a favorable weather system and ride it like a cyclist drafting off a passing car.

Satellites orbiting in the heavens give a skipper a bird’s eye view of the weather systems in his navigation station, a three dimensional view of the storm systems surrounding his vessel from anywhere with predictive forecasting becoming increasingly accurate for up to a week in the future.

He then has the capability to ‘fight with nature’ versus against her – by positioning his knight (the boat) as he chooses amongst the global chess pieces of weather systems at will.

When Bruno Peyron’s 120-ft maxi-catamaran – “Orange 2” sailed nonstop around the planet from France and back in 50-days flat – for the absolute world speed record, she became the first ever yacht in history to lock into a favorable low pressure system off the Cape of Good Hope and draft off it all the way to Cape Horn around the bottom of the globe in one go…

I crewed aboard “Orange 2” from the west coast of France to Brest Week 2004 and I’d personally describe steering her as the closest man has come to achieving the harmony with the sea the Albatross has long known.

Like a great Wandering Albatross of the Southern Ocean – the mechanics of the yachts are becoming like the magnificent bird’s structure and geometry.

The Albatross is the only bird in the world that can lock it’s wings into place so it’s not wasting energy by flapping or simply by holding them extended. The bones are hollow (like a yacht’s mast today) to reduce weight, and they can live at sea for years without coming to land. In-fact, the Albatross only comes to ‘dirt’ (land) to mate before returning to the sea. They orbit the bottom of the world back to back sometimes over twenty times in their lifetimes.

…The sailors racing while breaking records around the bottom of the world and Antarctica today are followed by the same birds sometimes for the entirety of their circumnavigations. Hence, the legend that when a sailor dies he become an Albatross.

24-hour mileage records are approaching 1,000-nautical miles, the current mark stands at over 800 which is a 32-knot (40-mph) average.

…How much further, faster and for how long can we go before the machine/computer/yacht we construct with our mind outperforms or outlasts the human that designed and sails her.

… I wrote this on a delivery from Fiji recently in Pacific Ocean. I designed the entire website on my yacht “ISIS” with my Macbook computer… 1st website built entirely at sea !?

It’s a quiet night and the autopilot is steering the boat, Linda is watching a DVD on her lap-top, I just checked in with my dad on my Iridium satellite telephone for live internet satellite weather information, a hand-held Garmin GPS global positioning system is in my hand, Apple Ipod in my lap, Energizer LED miner’s headlamp on my forehead and the barometric pressure of the Suunto Core wrist-watch monitoring the weather on my hand… this is the state-of-the-art at sea in the year 2009.

… Think of space-flight and the unmanned probes – (Voyager 2, 1st human built space-craft to exit the solar system (without-human crew).

Perhaps there truly are no limits…”

-bj caldwell
South Pacific

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