Race Commentary Archive: Transat 2004


Sleep Glorious Sleep
June 10, 2004

This morning while the most of the rest of the world was commuting to work, Joe Harris was crossing another milestone in his quest to race solo across the Atlantic. His Distance to Finish number dropped below 1000 miles, and for the first time the end of the race seems tangible. Soon the miles left to sail will be measured in more quantifiable terms like, one Newport to Bermuda Race (650 miles) or one Chicago to Mackinac Race (300 miles). It's a bit like kids counting the number of sleeps until Christmas. Speaking of sleep, Joe did not make his scheduled call this morning and I can only assume he is catching up on some well deserved sleep. Ten days of 20 minute naps can eventually wear you down as some of the other competitors are finding out.

Nick Moloney and Conrad Humphrey's are two immensely experienced British sailors racing in the Monohull 60 fleet aboard Skandia and Hellomoto respectively. They have been racing neck-and-neck for the past few days. The boat's have been sailing alongside each other with only a hundred meters separating them, and with neither skipper willing to concede they are both on the edge of exhaustion as this excerpt from Moloney's media team indicates.

"In a semi-amusing call back to the Skandia shore team, Nick recounted yesterday how he started to get irate with British skipper Conrad Humphreys. During their match-race on Wednesday, Skandia and Hellomoto were at times only 100 meters apart with neither skipper willing to give an inch.

"I couldn't understand why Conrad was allowed to race with a full crew while I was on my own?" Nick argued to himself. After some sleep, his first rest in over 24 hours, he figured out that Conrad was solo as well and it was classic sleep depravation.

Humphreys tale from the same evening is scarier. The British skipper decided to cat-nap in the cuddy hole in case the breeze built. "The next thing I was conscious of was waking up over two hours later just in my underwear, but fully in my sleeping bag, with all my clothes in a pile swilling around in the bilges," he explained. "I realized later that I must have gone into sleep walking mode sitting in the hatchway and put myself to bed unconsciously."
Leader Mike Golding isn't immune either, saying: "I got myself so knackered that I crashed out for quite a long time! My alarm is set for an hour, but I didn't hear it, which meant I was sleeping through a 100 decibel car alarm for two and a half hours."

Before the start of The Transat Joe took a sleep clinic with the renown sleep expert, Claudio Stampi. Stampi has worked with some of the top solo sailors to train them how to manage one of the most precious commodities on board: sleep. Not getting sufficient rest can have a dangerous consequence and Joe knows that, like good nutrition, sleep is important to overall competitiveness.

Meanwhile as soon as Joe checks in we will bring you an update. At the last poll Wells Fargo - American Pioneer trailed Artforms by 18 miles with both boats having just under a thousand miles to go to the finish in Boston.

- Brian Hancock (

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