The great weather was a welcome respite for the crew and our yacht. It was an unexpected treat and we made the most of it. We are glad to be leaving the Gulf Stream and its maddeningly unpredictable currents and frequent squalls. But, the respite is going to be short lived.
We are working to get ourselves north to hook up with the southern edge of a big low pressure system moving our way. Yes, you read that right, we are intentionally sailing towards bad weather. This weather feature is going to dominate most of what is left of the race. We are going to play a bit of chicken with it, getting as close as we can to its southern side to pick up and ride the strong southwesterly winds it should provide. The chicken part is not getting so close that the ride will be miserable. Either way the fair weather we so enjoyed today is going to end.
It is with both regret and happiness that we write this third blog. Sadly, after suffering significant structural damage to the rig, SY Altair was forced to retire from the 2015 Transatlantic Race. As I write, night has fallen once more and we are 390 miles out from Newport, returning with a little wistfulness from what will have been a roughly 1200 mile round trip to nowhere in particular.
Phaedo3: Next Stop Cowes
Lloyd Thornburg’s Phadeo3 is fully powered up and already pulling away from some of the fastest race-boats in the world including the 100-foot long monohull Comanche, 88-foot Rambler 88, and the 63-foot trimaran Paradox . And if they can beat an incoming high pressure system, and sail full-throttle to the ice exclusion zone that extends far south of the Canadian Maritimes, they’ll be on record-breaking pace to complete the crossing in under 7 days. There’s a long way to go but, they’re off to a great start.
See the video here: https://vimeo.com/132661096
See the Photo Gallery for higher resolution versions of these images by Richard Langdon
Yesterday afternoon after sending you our latest blog, we hit an object presumed to be a whale as we saw a black fin astern immediately afterwards. Good news is that following an inspection of all forward compartments Grey Power is sound and intact and we suffered no rudder damage but the bang which the collision made was impressive. We have seen two more whales this afternoon and the skipper was heard to mutter something about the fact they should be required to carry shapes and navigation lights!
Es liegt erneut eine arbeitsreiche Nacht hinter uns. Nachdem wir tagszuvor mit WSW-Wind gut voran gekommen sind, gerieten wir bei SE-Kurs an den Rand eines nördlich gelegenen Flautenfeldes. Segelmanöver garniert mit umfangreichen Regenfällen in pechschwarzer Nacht war
Woo hoo we have made it to the second week. After I hit send yesterday on the blog the weather turned. Oh the joy of being down below in 37kts, 2 reefs in the main and a part furled jib and a sea state which can only be described as pitching and rolypoly. It was better to beup on deck than down below. When the sea state started to settle and wind come down it was dinner time.
We were going to send out a note on an entirely different subject but, given the weather Friday, we We decided to give you a Shearwater perspective of the heavy weather we faced. First,the winds and seas experienced are not out of the ordinary for the Atlantic and are quite common place, For example, several of Shearwater's crew have rounded Cape Horn under sail and say that Friday's weather was par for the course there. Anyway, when you're out here on a 40' boat 600+ miles out, it's still pretty awe-inspiring.
That was one hell of a day today and I need some sleep now but we took some pictures. Broke a couple of speed records, Terry Halpin dropped the boat off a wave and surfed her up to 18.2kts which we thought impossible. Weather front gave us 38kts which is survival mode rather than racing on this boat. 18ft waves then the wind died, changed sails a few times and now the A3 kite is back up and we are ripping it up again.
Rod and Olin Stephens' fastest recorded speed on Dorade in the 1931 Transatlantic Race was 11.4 knots, set when their father, Rod Stephens, Sr., was driving. In the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race, Ben Galloway set what we think was the all-time speed record aboard Dorade of 15.9 knots (unless one of our followers knows better -- please let us know when and where that was topped!).
Imagine, if you will, that you are alone on deck. It is cool, but not cold, and spray comes through the air from your passage through the waves. You are dressed in sea boots, foul weather bibs over a pair of long underwear, and a light spray top.
Your co-skipper is asleep below, nested in the bean bag that passes for a bed on Dragon.