Miranda Merron chooses penguin for company

Human frailties are proving as great a challenge as the north Atlantic for solo sailor Miranda Merron, currently lying 5th in the Class 40 fleet of the Artemis Transat.

Having once admitted that she found it hard to treat eating and sleeping as an important part of her race routine, this race she was made to promise to look after herself as much as the boat. She has regularly let her shore team know how much sleep she has banked and how many meals she has eaten.

A report from her today shows that she is contemplating talking to imaginary friends and that hallucination is already setting in.

In her diary she reports: “It has been a relatively uneventful 24 hours, grey sky, flat grey sea, wind dropping. Yesterday when I changed the spinnaker to gennaker, I discovered just how tired I was – it seemed to take far longer than normal. So I have now accumulated a few hours sleep. Much improved! The wind during the night was shifting 30 degrees at a time, and up and down in strength. I keep wondering if the other boats have more wind, or are they in similar conditions. We have an area of light winds to cross in the next couple of days, and this transition is important. There will be an element of luck involved as well, I think.”

“Alex (boat captain) has put her penguin, ‘North’, on board, thinking it would be better for me to talk to him than imaginary friends when hallucinating from exhaustion. North has been around the world and done a few transatlantics, so must have a huge number of sea miles.”

In the last 24 hours Miranda Merron’s ranking has shot up from 9th place to 5th, and the entire Class 40 fleet sticks to the same south-westerly heading with a northerly wind. Light winds over the next 48 hours will test the skippers’ patience and perhaps lead to some risky strategies and some of them inadvertently parking up. Miranda remains just 2 miles from Boris Hermann who has moved into 2nd on the leaderboard. She rang in yesterday to say that she was finding it mildly irksome having him so close!