Team Blog – Ian Walker – 23rd March 2012

Friday, 23 March 2012 | by ADOR

Right now as our competitors sail away at over 20 knots straight down the course we have an unenviable decision to make. As a bubble of high pressure (light wind) grows directly in our path we can either try to sail around it to the north, both adding distance and the possibility of sailing upwind, or we can gybe and head south directly into the high and very light winds.

Salvation would have been to go further south but we are constrained by the ice limits so that is not an option. The question is which way will lose us the less distance? Going north sounds better as it is more proactive, we should keep moving through the water (i.e. not totally becalmed) and the recent weather model suggests a slight benefit, but going south is safer as it means we will be better positioned when the next weather system eventually heads east.

The southerly route also keeps us nearer to the rhumb line should things change for the better. As you can see it is not a great choice so we must look elsewhere for good news. Firstly we have enjoyed some nice downwind sailing conditions, secondly Azzam and crew are in good shape and perhaps most importantly we are still getting closer to Cape Horn (albeit slower than we would like).

The same cannot be said of Sanya and we really feel for those guys. They were again sailing a good leg and getting good speed out of the older boat. I know how hard it was to turn around when only 40 miles out from Auckland let alone over 1,000 miles. We wish those guys good luck and hope they can rejoin the race soon.

Back onboard Azzam the next few days are going to need a lot of patience a there will be a lot of lost miles. Sanya’s misfortune is a timely reminder that Itajai remains a long way away and this is still an exercise in managing ourselves and our boat. We must hope that we get through this tricky bit better than it appears in the weather and that we get a chance to catch up later in the leg.

date: Friday, 23 March 2012 17:12:52 (Arabian Standard Time, UTC+04:00)

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Comments [7]

Friday, 23 March 2012 20:16:02 (Arabian Standard Time, UTC+04:00)
Hello, I'm confident you & crew will choose the best course. It was sad news indeed about Sanya:( Thanks for updates & be safe♥
Saturday, 24 March 2012 10:38:15 (Arabian Standard Time, UTC+04:00)
There's no way to see the damage to Azzam and to Sanya, and not recognize the absolute power of the southern ocean--or any ocean, for that matter, if the weather takes a nasty turn. Makes me wonder how the old frigates and corvettes, and even barques and the heavy man o' wars with 90 or 120 guns aboard, ever made it around the horn. But it was more de-masting on those big ships, unless they got into a fight and took fire at water level. In fact, size was not a disadvantage for the British in 1588, when the Spanish Armada entered the channel and were routed by Drake, Howard and Sydney in the smaller British ships. It was the wind and the narrowing channel entrance into the North Sea. So much for 17th century history. You lot have some catching up to do, and you'll be out of that weak area and into the fast westerly soon. Sail on!

Friday, 13 April 2012 19:38:51 (Arabian Standard Time, UTC+04:00)
Sorry to mislead, I only saw the onnlie version which had a thumbnail in the headline, but nothing else with the story itself. And I couldn't tell whether the thumb was a Parr pic or not. In any case, I was not meaning to be critical. I actually think photographers ought to talk more than they do! I just thought it was odd.
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