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Day 203

By Brian Hancock

The parade up the North Atlantic is still marching on. The Easter festivities are over; the kids are down from their sugar highs and the last stretch into Cowes remains. Let’s hope that when the balloons were released that the plastic bits didn’t float out to sea to get stuck around some seabirds foot.

There are still some things that can throw a cat among the canaries. On one of my around-the-world trips we noticed the deck getting slippery one night. There was a low haze and an uneasy feeling to go along with it. At daybreak we found the sails dripping mud. An errant sandstorm from the Sahara Desert had blown out to sea and covered the boat, sails, everything, with in some cases a thick slime of red mud. It took most of the day and a few rain squalls to clean things up.

Of more importance is a ridge of high pressure that is forming right in the path of the front runners. It stretches from almost the African coast directly ahead of the boats. There is no way around (yet – things can change) but it should not be too much of an issue. PDVI will be first into it, but also first out so initially the fleet will compress and then stretch out. It’s called the rubber band effect.

Once the boats get through the high they will find themselves in a moderate to strong westerly flow and will be able to make some decent miles toward the finish. For White Shadow, Sterna, Triana, Evrika, Galiana WithSecure and Explorer it’s still much the same. Northeast tradewinds, water on deck, hopefully no too much down below but enough of the good stuff to have them make some progress. By the time that they get further north the weather will likely have changed and the high would have moved on to be replaced by who knows what, but there will still be potholes along the way. Sterna should take it all in stride; South Africa is littered with potholes. The money allocated for road repair somehow mysteriously ended up in a few politicians pockets. Strange huh?

A quick aside. I did notice that the speed on Sterna was way down. A tweet from the boat confirmed that they had to turn and run downwind to enable them to put some much needed tension on the forestay. Apparently mission was accomplished and they are back on track now. You would not think it but even heavy wire stretches over time and that’s exactly what happened. A sloppy forestay is not good for windward so they bit the bullet and got the job done.

Sail on friends and neighbours, we are going to miss you once this grand adventure is over.

Don’s Daily Tracker Update


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