By Brian Hancock
Translated 9 wibbled and wobbled (very technical term but not technically nautical) their way around the 45 degree south waypoint and are now going to dip back into the soup. Actually, if truth be told, it’s just a light broth; for them.
Let’s go back and look at Sterna and Explorer. They are going to be into some hogs head soup with bones pretty soon. The Southern Ocean gives everyone a break every now and then, but sometimes she delivers the goods, and the goods that she is about to deliver to those two boats is gonna test their metal. By the way, us men, and I am one – I think (well according to my my wife, maybe not) but anyway, us men always refer to yachts and a stormy ocean as “she”. We are just trying to get on the right side of things, if you know what I mean.
She, as in the Southern Ocean (not my wife) is about to dish up a plate of whooping. Ok, don’t get on my case for this, the reason we call them “she” is because they can be a little tricky when they are all in a fluster and this low pressure system coming up behind Sterna and Explorer is all in a fluster. It’s big and powerful and will deliver a punch (not unlike my first wife…).
Race Director Don McIntyre is trying to give guidance and he knows what he’s talking about, but the problem is a system like this only comes by every now and then like an aunt with bad breath, and this particular low has some fine bad breath. And it’s going to blow a hoolie. Some models are estimating hurricane force winds. But it all depends on which side of the system that you are on.
Since it’s Sunday morning and I have not cracked my first beer yet, let me give you a lesson. There is wind and there is ‘apparent wind’, apparently. So, when you are/were driving down the highway as a kid and put your hand out the window and felt the breeze and lifted your hand just a little to see how your hand would react, that’s wind. When your Dad stopped the car to get a bite to eat and maybe to take a pee, the wind went away. OK, stick with me. (I may just go and get that last bottle of Guiness out of the fridge, but don’t go anywhere.)
Apparent wind is different.
If we were driving down the highway with a really strong wind from behind, and remember my Dad’s car had a top speed of 20, (but I digress), if there was a strong wind from behind, it would only feel like we were getting 10 knots of wind. The wind from behind would suck away (nautical term) some of the actual wind. Same thing would happen if the wind was from in front. It would double the amount of wind. 20 plus 10 would mean 30 in actual wind strength. My first grade teacher Mrs. McKay would be proud of me.
So let’s go back to Sterna and Explorer. It depends where they get into this mess that is looking to make their Monday morning worse than a traffic jam on the LA Expressway. If they can position themselves on top of the low pressure monster they will be riding along quite good with their hands out the window humming some John Denver song (by the way I love/d John Denver), however if they slip below they will get the sh*t pummeled out of them. That’s sailboat racing I guess. They will be fine. Cooking and using the bathroom, if you can call it that, might be a challenge but there you go, they signed up for an adventure.
Maiden set themselves up perfectly for the 45 degree south waypoint and have eaten up some miles. Galiana WithSecure, not so much. They are going to have to dig deep to make the mark rounding. All of us sailors out there know the feeling, but when you are playing on a global stage, it hurts even more especially with thousands of people watching.
LS’dE, it’s too much for me to spell their name – the Guinness is kicking in – but you know who I mean. They realized that they to had not planned it well and are zigging to the north. So if I was a betting man, and I am not, I have never not even once placed a bet, I would say than the wonderful women on Maiden have won this one, at least in terms of hitting the mark at full speed.
Over Thanksgiving we played a hefty game of “left, right and center.” It was my much loved and now belated father-in-laws favorite game. I miss him, but anyhow, he loved the game. I lost all my money (I guess that I do bet after all) and so did Sally (flipping smart arsed kids) but anyway I digress again (ADHD). For Sterna and Outlaw they are going to be playing a game of left, right or center. Let’s just hope that they don’t lose any money. Happy Sunday.
Don’s Daily Tracker Update
The plan to route Explorer and Sterna to the SE and not head north is working well considering the unpredictability of the potentially dangerous seas at the core of this unique system and the uncertainty of Explorer’s ability to make north in time. They continue to head generally SE in NW winds that will slowly go west then SW late on the 27th. At that time they will head slowly north. The objective is to remain south of 39S and west of 41E until at least 2300 UTC on the 29th. This is the SW corner of the low as it moves from the NW to the SE. Both will then travel up and over the back of the low resuming their course to Auckland. These routing plans will progress as the forecast becomes more accurate. Both have been briefed by sat phone with regular weather updates.