July 12, 2011 in At the Helm
Our good fortune has, indeed, come to an abrupt end! The day started strong with a steady 8 knot southerly that gradually gave way to a dying southeasterly, that also “gradually” disappeared. We didn’t know when or where it would happen, but it has and it’s put us in a bit of a tough spot.
We’re drifting about with no real direction or method of propulsion at the moment, and it’s not all that much fun watching a potential 3rd place finish get away like it currently might be. Jazz is making 7 knots towards the finish line, with 180 miles to go. We need to finish about two days behind them to correct out, and it’s looking less and less likely. Beau Geste is 12 miles to our southeast and struggling as well, so it’s almost a race restart for the two of us. Read the rest of this entry →
July 11, 2011 in At the Helm
It’s gut check day for the AAOT. The wheels are off the wagon and it’s time for us to double up on the tough stuff out here. The past 24 hours have been hard on the Vanquish. Jan and Molly spent all night feeding buckets of salty aqua to the watermaker because the scoop is too high at our present angle of heel. The door to the head was taken clean off its hinges earlier this morning (unnamed assailant), which will prove to be a real exercise in team bonding. There’s a winter hat thief running rampant when times are at their coldest. My cameras will not dry. The sun will not show. Everyone looks tired (someone was asked if they had a black eye) and it “feels like day 36.” Maybe worst of all, we’re fresh out of candy. One weather model suggested we’d get to Lizard Point in 10 days.
Thankfully that’s not going to happen, we’re all pretty sure of that, but how bad it’s going to get is really anybody’s guess. Navigator Chris Branning has worked hard to put us in a great spot up here, and we’ve sailed a really good race to this point, but we could fall victim to circumstance (Annapolis to Newport de-ja-vu) as we sail head first into the unavoidable ridge of high-pressure sitting between us and the finish. Read the rest of this entry →
July 8, 2011 in At the Helm
Our apologies for the late report, we’ve just made our third gybe today, gybes 1 and 2 coming in the past few hours. While we are still very much committed to our southerly route, we’ve been taking small hitches to the north to position ourselves to encounter the high-pressure ridge coming from the south at its narrowest latitude. It also brings us closer to the approaching low from the northwest. We’ve done a pretty good job in the Micro, jibing on good pressure, moving sails (we’ve opted to stack on the rail for a 2% rating penalty), moving gear and sailors below, making sure the boat is sailing fast all the time. But in the Macro we’ve got a long way to go: this ridge, when it does pass, will bring light winds, and the approaching low is weak to the south and won’t be offering us much help.
The high-pressure ridge became a focal point this morning when the favorable 18-20 knot winds we enjoyed for most of yesterday receded to a lighter 10-14 knots and heavy fog. It’s still extremely damp outside and visibility is but a few boat lengths. We were hoping to stay in front of the ridge but the lesser winds slowed progress enough that we had to reposition ourselves to the north. While the going is slow, there’s a lot that can happen in the next 24 hours so we’re all focused on staying positive and coming out of this in better shape than everyone around us. Read the rest of this entry →
July 6, 2011 in At the Helm
The Transatlantic Race 2011 is underway and we are lucky enough to have photographer Amory Ross aboard the Vanquish with the All-American Offshore Team (AAOT). He will be providing daily updates and pictures from the All-American Offshore Team as they race from Newport, R.I. to Lizard, U.K. The All-American Offshore Team is an extension of the non-profit U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA) Sailing Foundation, which is committed to providing “high-performance offshore training opportunities for an upcoming generation of American ocean racing leaders.” Here is what Amory and the AAOT have been up to during their first few days at sea:
by Amory Ross Read the rest of this entry →