Firstly, a message, and then the news:
Dear readers of this blog,
As we get closer to the finish line of the Global Ocean Race we would like to thank you all for your support and comments, but would also like to let you know that we will continue to update the blog occasionally after the end of the race, firstly to thank all those who have helped to make this adventure possible and then to let you know about the prize-giving and the delivery back to the UK. After that we will post information about the video / book / presentations and, of course finally details of the next big adventure! So there will still be things to look forward to! Keep reading!
Nick, Phillippa, Pippa Potamus and Monkey
And now for the news:
Yesterday’s gale certainly did keep us on our toes though once again Phesheya-Racing performed faultlessly and came through unscathed.
By midnight last night we were again enveloped in a blanket of drizzle as the wind started to build, with regular gusts over 30 knots. The entries in the logbook sum up the next few hours quite tidily:
00H00: Drizzle. Gusts to 33 knots.
02H00: Still raining.
04H00: Rain. Gusting 40 knots.
05H00: Drizzle. Wind 31 knots.
06H00: Drizzle. Wind 30 knots.
And then the sky began to brighten as the sun came up, though it remained overcast and squally throughout the day.
Around midday there was a big wind shift from SW to NW and at the same time the breeze began to ease off, so we gybed and eventually went back to a single reef in the mainsail.
During the afternoon, while I was off watch and asleep, Phillippa reported sailing very close to what appeared to be a small whale, though the encounter was so quick that she was unable to identify it properly. Other than that marine life has been quite scarce, with just a few Shearwaters circling near the boat.
This evening, with the wind now firmly under 30 knots, we hoisted the bluQube A6 spinnaker for a while. For a couple of hours we made some good progress with this sail but eventually the wind went too far into the north and we were forced to drop the sail just before midnight.
In doing my usual checks of the weather forecasts for the coming days I was surprised to see a message on the Sat-C entitled “SPACE WEATHER”. With my curiosity aroused I read the rest of the message:
1.HF AND LF COMMUNICATIONS MAY BE DISRUPTED BY THE EFFECTS OF SOLAR FLARES.
2.DURING INCIDENTS AT SEA, MARINERS SHOULD CHECK THEIR POSITION USING ALL ALTERNATE MEANS AVAILABLE.”
So it seems that if we can’t get enough of gales down here, we can still have the option of dealing with problems relating to the weather in space!
Apparently it is a coincidence that these solar flares are occurring at more or less the same time as Venus’ transit of the sun, which is itself quite a rare event. Perhaps the most famous transit occurred around 1770 and led to Captain Cook being sent out to explore the South Pacific and observe the transit from Tahiti.
On the subject of explorers, the weather forecast area that we are now in is referred to as Charcot in the Meteo-France forecasts. Once again the area is named after a pair of seamounts that are located within its boundaries, and to the best of my knowledge the seamounts are themselves named after the famous French polar explorer. A few years ago I was lucky enough to sail into the ice-filled Charcot Bay on the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsular, and after that we continued to head southwards, following the tracks of the explorer as far as Marguerite Bay at 68 degrees south where we were stopped by solid pack ice. Marguerite Bay is named after Charcot’s wife, and much of the the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsular was named by Charcot. So is it now just a coincidence that today is the coolest weather we have had in a long. long time, or is it something to do with the ghost of Charcot coming back from the polar ice- fields to haunt his forecast area?
Thankfully there is no gale in the forecast for today or tomorrow, though by the time we approach Biscay and the finish line the next SW gale will be starting to make itself felt…