From Conrad Colman on Spirit of Hungary 'Imprisoned'
Position: just south of Malaga, South of Spain. Dolphin count: 15. Cargo ship count: 150. Speed, you've got to be kidding right? We are surrounded by almost miles and miles of deep blue and yet we are imprisoned just as surely as if we were surrounded by iron bars. Even as the weather files continue to insist that there is enough wind to make decent progress in reality 2015 has started with a whimper rather than a bang.
Every once in a while there is a little glimpse of hope in a form of a ripple on the water and we leap into action in order to scratch out a few metres of progress. Without fail, the breeze falters in seconds and leaves us feeling ever more despondent in its wake, just as child who has their toys continually taken away without reason will eventually begin to doubt that Christmas will ever come again.The sea is oily calm, with only a ripple to slap and rustle on the back of the boat. Sometimes the boat seems to take a breath and we have complete silence for a few moments before the gurgling begins again. "Never have I seen such nothing" exclaims Nandor. Sadly I have, on this very stretch of water. In 2008 it took me mroe than two days to pass these same 150 miles only I was solo sailing for the first time and scared out of my mind by the endless torrent of cargo ships rushing passed on their way to China or the USA. When, or if, we finally make it passed Gibraltar I think we will have to celebrate like it is Cape Horn, as this English wart on the Spanish coast has now earned mythical status in our minds.From when the wind gives us the opportunity, we'll have to focus on sailing really well if we can hope to be with the fleet by the South Atlantic. Mich Desj set the bar pretty high for comebacks when he left Les Sables d'Olonne a two days late in the 2008 Vendee Globe only to come back and win it.Our competitive chances are certain slim now, but we've got a lot of sailing and learning before the next Vendee and we're certainly not going to waste this opportunity.