Ryan and Boris aboard Neutrogena are sneaking up on the ultra-experienced Dominique Wavre’s Mirabaud in sixth place while Hugo Boss is tearing through the fleet with their sights set on the young blond duo, but Ryan’s still got the time to make us laugh.  Don’t forget to ask your questions for our upcoming Southern Ocean interview with Ryan here to win your Neutrogena Racing t-shirt.  Here’s the latest from Ryan’s Barcelona World Race:

I have spoken several times about the sheer volume of stupid conversations we have on board. There are too many to go into here, but one subject keeps popping up and it’s way too funny not to share.

As you know, the IMOCA 60 is not the most luxurious boat on earth, and right now, in the cold and damp of the Southern Ocean, it is primitive at best.  At night, everything is covered in condensation, even more so if we leave the doors open.  And of course, it’s freezing cold.  So we wake up to cold, wet clothes all the time. 

We chose not to put a heater in – we’re the ‘young, tough guys’ and we convinced ourselves we didn’t need it.  We didn’t want the mess of sooty exhaust on deck or the weight of the machine or the diesel to run it, plus plus plus…We discussed it with Bilou, and he thought we would be fine without one, he did not have one for any of his round the world races on this boat, and it was no problem.

But there are two major differences between theory and reality here: First, I am of the opinion that the air in the higher latitudes (like you have if you follow the low pressure systems’ track) must be drier than the air where we are, well to the North of that.  We’re more under the influence of high pressure, in a more temperate climate with subtropical moist air masses.  The second difference is that Bilou had no hydrogenerators, meaning he had to run his engine twice a day, warming up and drying out his boat while he refilled his batteries.

As we are sailing an IMOCA, and are students of the French culture, we have decided there is only one solution to all of the comfort problems on board.  I put this question out to anyone reading this, and welcome a response.
What is the smallest nuclear reactor known to man, or ever built?   We need something that will fit in a space of 1 cubic meter…If we had this, then we could have a nice heating system, which would keep everything inside nice and dry.  Perhaps the waste heat from the reactor would be enough on its own without any other heating system.

We could also have unlimited power for the keel rams, with barrel screw rams instead of hydraulic ones.  These are much more robust than the conventional ones, but consume a lot of electricity to run at a decent speed.  This would be no problem with our reactor.

Hot water for making freeze dried, or tea or other hot drinks?  No problem and no waiting for some pesky little kettle to boil.
There are two other things which we hope the reactor could power.  First, since we sail in these areas between the weather systems, we always have small, confused choppy seas.  Perhaps there is some type of device which puts out a ray of some sort, be it sound, laser or other, that could knock down the majority of these waves for us, and allow surfing just on the big swell or sailing in flat water.  Another positive side effect, if it was a sound wave, I can imagine there would be no hitting whales or other marine life.  They would know for sure we were coming.

Last item, which would be of immense comfort to Boris and I:  The kebab installation constantly turning in the empty space above the keel.  This unused space could house just one massive kebab meat, and I am sure that it would last 2 people for at least 90 days, if we limited ourselves to just one per day. Grease would funnel into the keel well, lubricating the bottom as well as the bearing of the keel itself .
Boris suggested perhaps a pizza oven for me, but I summarily rejected that on the grounds that the brick oven weighs an awful lot. I can hear two comments: First, why not power the deck gear with it, and second, what to do with the waste?

Let me just say that this is still a yacht race, and I am against powered winches!  I think we should still have to turn the handles to do the work on deck.
As for the waste, the French have led the way in this long ago as well.  I think it was Tabarly who had the depleted uranium bulb.  We have a ready-made reservoir at our disposal – The hollow keel fin.  Just drop the spent fuel down there, and by the time we get back to Barcelona, we will only have to cant it halfway with all the extra righting moment.

I guess we can only dream though, we are not planning to stop in Wellington for the retrofit, as we do not want to incur the 48 hour stopping penalty.  Guess we will just have to wait a while for dry clothes.