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Day 35 - Tristan Da Cunha
December 20, 2015

Hello Friends-

Hope you all are enjoying a festive holiday Sunday- I know Santa is hard at work and everyone is busy with gifts and parties.

Things are good out here in the South Atlantic- the wind is honking from behind us and we are going fast, so that is always a positive, although it is cold and grey and rainy.

We are approaching the three-island group called Tristan Da Cunha, which was named by a Portuguese explorer of the same name who sighted the island in 1506. This is a British property that is part of a government agreement with Asension and St.Helena islands to the north. The population of 300 hardy souls are farmers and fisherman. I think we will split between the three islands tonight around midnight, so I won't get to see much, although I believe the island has a 10,000 foot peak. I will have to watch out for the wind shadow on the lee side.

More GS2 breaking news:

- I finished reading "The Girl in the Spiders Web", the fourth book in a series by Swedish author Steig Larsson, which began with the best-seller and movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". Steig Larsson died and a new author, David Lagercrantz, picked up the series, and I thought this book was just as good cas the others. Highly recommend the series.

- The boat is in pretty good shape- nothing broken or mal-functioning at the moment, just trying to address some small leaks that become a problem when we experience big breaking seas or torrential rains.

- The forecast for the next four days is for winds between 20 and 40 knots- mostly from the West- so we should be able to make some good time.

- Update on my German competitor Henrik: Evidently Henrik took a bad fall and injured his ankle and is heading to Cape Town to seek medical treatment. I don't have a lot of details, but Henrik stated in a blog post that this will end his solo, RTW record attempt, which is a shame. Henrik was quite a ways in front of me, having sailed a quite different course coming south from Europe instead of North Americas as I did. It was going to be a real challenge to try to catch him in the Southern Ocean and I was really looking forward to that. I send my best wishes to Henrik and his family- I know he must be gutted- but we are brothers in arms and he will live to fight another day.

- My friend Julianna Barbieri of Manuka Sports Event Management- Owner- operators of the Atlantic Cup Class 40 race- was recently attending a world yacht racing symposium and ran in to the PR person for Chinese sailor Guo Chuan, the sailor that holds the record I am trying to break. Mr. Chuan's representative said that they were very aware of my attempt to break the record and were posting updates of my progress to their Facebook page and other social media. Interestingly, she said they had done some routing analysis and concluded that I had a pretty decent chance to break the record going from Newport to Newport, versus their course of round trip to Quing Dao China. Our two boats are exact sister ships, so the challenge now reverts to simply breaking Chuan's record of 137 days, rather than having to beat Henrik as well.

Conclusion- You have to finish to win- and to finish you need to keep the boat and yourself together. I will be tested by these high winds and seas these next four days, but plan to do everything I can to protect the boat, as the pounding we took in the last gale was not fun, nor good for the boat.

Break- more to follow- Go Pats!!

Cheers-
Joe



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