Day 16, 7th June 2012 -Space weather and ghost stories

Direct from Onboard:

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!

Thank you

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:

 

“SPACE WEATHER

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…

8 Responses to Day 16, 7th June 2012 -Space weather and ghost stories

  1. Dad L. June 7, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Thanks for all that. I’d wondered about Charcot. Presumably the Margarita cocktail wasn’t named by him – or did he get to Mexico?

  2. Barbi Rickard June 7, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Nick, that was a really interesting blog. I looked up ALTAIR seamount on Google Earth, so shall be looking up Charcot as well. Google maps doesn’t name the bathymetric formations. I look forward to the ‘book’, a must from you guys. Also the presentation, and definitely news of the next big adventure. p.s. you have a spelling mistake in your blog, a rarity. Find it. Meanwhile, keep your hull firmly on the waves, no taking off into space!

  3. Brian & Roz June 7, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    Best to you both on your final run to the finish – it has been great to check in on you each day. I don’t know what I will do with myself at 0500 EDT with you guys having completed your adventure.

    Both Roz and I are very happy for you both – Three Cheers – and hip-hip- a-Potamus

  4. Greg, Emmanuelle, Victor, Felix & Clea HALL June 7, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Enjoy your last few days of sailing, racing, weather tracking, trimming, heeling, night watches, being wet and racing boat food.
    Well done making it happen and reaching (soon) the finish line. Congratulations!
    Sure you’ll also enjoy a fresh crispy baguette with a good (smelly) cheese!
    We’ll be missing following your daily progress!
    Keep well,
    from all aboard Merlin (in Brisbane)

  5. Barbi Rickard June 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    We have remnants of Beryl here in London! By tonight and tomorrow it will really be blasting. Matthew loves it, he is windsurfing at Weymouth! Thinking of you all the time, FC must have finished by now, they took the direct route, not like Cessna who looped the island. I’d say Friday for you at this pace, hopefully in the daylight, as you have predicted. Hang on, sail safe, finish the race. Then enjoy the welcome and a gastronomical celebration!!

  6. Liz and John June 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Gusting up to 39 knots here up Southampton Water so went outside to get a feel of what it is like. More concerned about being hit by falling branches than washed down by a wave but, even so,very wet! According to the AIS Financial Crisis seem to be moored up now so waiting for you to show up. Hope its not this rough for the ferry next week!

  7. Sandi T June 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    I have so enjoyed reading all of your posts. I will really miss them but look forward to your publications. Sail safe and enjoy a good meal and a dry bed (at least in a day or two.

  8. Barbi Rickard June 8, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    No a daylight Saturday finish, lost a day there. That comes from being on school holidays!

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