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View Full Version : 2019 Transatlantic Race Gets Underway



Photoboy
06-25-2019, 02:37 PM
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NEWPORT, R.I. — At 1600 hours ET, four and a half hours after the final start of the Transatlantic Race 2019, the fleet of 13 yachts was south of Martha’s Vineyard and was beating in 15 to 20 knots of south/southeasterly wind towards the first virtual mark south of Nantucket Shoals, led by the three largest boats, SHK Scallywag (Dovell 100), Wizard (Juan K VO70) and Aegir (Rogers 82).

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Based on weather forecasts, the race is shaping up to be a long one for the 120 sailors competing in the 3,000-nautical-mile race to Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England. Tonight is forecast to be very wet as a front clears off the East Coast of the U.S., followed by light winds with the likelihood of the fleet compressing around Point Alpha, the ice zone limit. The line-honors winner might be eight or nine days on elapsed time, well outside the 6-day, 22-hour record. In fact, the first night might be the hardest of the race.

“If we live through this afternoon’s thunder and lightning, very frightening stuff, it gets very light tomorrow as the front moves away,” said Mike Broughton, navigator of Aegir. “We need to keep under the rain today to keep moving. Overall, we’re looking at a pretty unconventional race with light winds early next week and plenty of winds ahead of the beam.”

The three classes got underway between 1110 and 1130 hours, as scheduled and without incident. With the start line extending from Newport’s iconic Castle Hill Light, a southerly wind of 10 knots propelled the racers out of Narragansett Bay. A few boats started on port tack, but by the time everyone could clear Brenton Reef they were all on starboard tack and making an east/southeasterly course towards the first virtual mark south of Nantucket Shoals.


TRACKER (http://yb.tl/tr2019)

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Laurent Pagès, the project manager for Eric de Turkheim’s Teasing Machine (Nivelt/Muratet 54, at left), noted the complexity of the racecourse that lies ahead.

“It’s going to be a long race, hopefully the second half gets faster than predicted,” said Pagès, who won the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-’12 aboard Groupama 4. “Our focus is to get a good start and do the right things to kick off from Newport. I think we’ll have a clear idea what kind of situation we’ll have in a few days.

“Every boat has its strengths, and we’ll have varying conditions with key strategical calls to make,” Pagès continued. “There’s the Gulf Stream, situations with high-pressure systems… many things to play with. It’s going to be very challenging tactically.”

The past few days have seen frantic preparations for many of the racers. Jean-Pierre Dick has two new crew aboard The Kid (Verdier JP54) who’ve never raced trans-Atlantic before, which had him concerned for safety. Meanwhile, Joe Mele’s Triple Lindy (Cookson 50) was in and out of the water five times over the span of three days, according to navigator H.L. DeVore.

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“I think Joe was unaware that walking under a ladder is bad luck. We finally stopped him a few days ago,” joked DeVore, an experienced navigator competing in his first trans-Atlantic race. “We’ve had all kinds of challenging, last-minute preparations: modifications to the rudder bearings, new parts for the satellite phone, even smoke in the engine. We’re happy to be tested and sorting this stuff out now rather than in the middle of the ocean.”

Aboard the J/52 True, co-skipper Ryan Hughes was also busy with last-minute preps. Hughes, 29 years old, has crossed the Atlantic four times, but is racing for the first time.


“It’s been a mission to get ready,” said Hughes. “We had to replace the hydraulics for the boom vang and backstay, so have spent some time dialing in those systems. But the boat’s up for the challenge. It’s been to the Caribbean and back and has raced the Newport-Bermuda Race. It’s been put through the ringer.”

On Mark Stevens’ McCurdy 49 Kiva, a repeat entry from the 2015 Transatlantic Race, navigator Hank Halstead showed his unbounded exuberance when talking about the race ahead.

“We’ve got a marvelous crew,” said Halstead. “This is a boat that Mark and I have always sailed doublehanded for the past 20 years. Our only race fully crewed was the Transatlantic Race 2015 four years ago. It’s pretty much the same crew back. The experience level is over the top. I’m stoked. It’s looking like we’ll eat some salt the first few days and then some drifting. I can handle that.”

The fleet was reduced to 13 yachts this afternoon when Fearless, the Baltic 55, withdrew due to troubles with the water maker.

The Transatlantic Race 2019 is organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club. It is the 31st Transatlantic Race organized by the New York Yacht Club.

https://www.transatlanticrace.org/2015-06-15-18-54-32/2015-race/760-stormy-first-night-ahead-for-transatlantic-race-2019-fleet

Photoboy
06-26-2019, 02:38 PM
Day 1 of Transatlantic Race 2019 Comes Off as Straightforward as Possible
June26 NEWPORT, R.I. — Few things are straightforward when racing across the Atlantic Ocean.

There are safety concerns at every turn, from storms and lightning threatening everything above water to unseen floating objects (“UFOs”) threatening the parts underwater.


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VIEW The YB Race Tracker:http://yb.tl/tr2019

Contrary to that theory, the 13 yachts participating in the Transatlantic Race 2019 have had surprisingly straightforward conditions in their first 24 hours at sea.

“The first night was fairly easy,” said David Askew, co-owner of the VO70 Wizard (top photo). “We’ve been close reaching in 18 to 20 knots of wind from the south and making 13 knots boatspeed.

“The weather has been very nice,” Askew continued. “We had light rain on and off all night. This morning it cleared and has stopped raining. The breeze has been very steady, we’re even seeing patches of blue sky. It’s also been warmer than most everybody expected.”

VIEW Start Gallery

Aboard the 82-footer Aegir, experienced round-the-world sailor Abby Ehler echoed similar conditions.

“Twelve hours in and we’re not so busy,” said Ehler. “We’ve been lucky that the breeze has held out of the south more or less, giving us reaching, straight-line conditions as we head east. It’s certainly nice to be going fast and in the right direction with flat water, albeit a little soggy!”

If the fleet had one complaint from the first night at sea, it was the rain.

“At one point, it rained so hard we could fill our water bottles from the flood pouring off the mainsail,” said Chris Hanson from Pata Negra (left), who served up a helping of chicken stir fry, “not freeze-dried!” to help warm the bones.

READ Boat Blogs

At today’s 1530 UTC position report, after 24 hours of racing, the fleet is straddling the rhumbline sailing a mostly easterly course. David Witt and the supermaxi SHK Scallywag lead, having covered approximately 317 nautical miles since the start and with 2,641 nautical miles to the finish. Constantin Claviez’s Charisma is the tail-ender, some 184 nautical miles astern of SHK Scallywag, but hardly off the back end of the fleet.

Charisma is some 35 nautical miles behind a pack that includes Hiro Nakajima’s Hiro Maru, Rives Potts’ Carina, Mark Stevens’ Kiva and Peter Bacon’s Lucy Georgina. Charisma completed the fleet’s passing of the western waypoint of the Nantucket Shoals limit, by 0330 UTC.

While the first day may have been straightforward, the next few days look anything but. The fleet is predicted to sail into the first of what could be a few encounters with zones of no wind. As such, the fleet seems to be setting up to take advantage of the Gulf Stream, that conveyor belt of water that could propel them past Point Alpha, the ice zone limit, and into free sailing on the open course.

“We’re not feeling any effect from the Gulf Stream yet, but it’s something we are going to try and take advantage of in the next day or two,” said Askew. “It’s kind of one thing we’re trying to set-up for, as are the other boats as well.”

One boat in particular is Jean-Pierre Dick’s The Kid, which is the most southerly boat in the fleet. The Kid passed the latitude of 40N by the 1230 UTC position report earlier today. Dick’s experience in open ocean sailing is unparalleled, so his move is one to watch in the coming days.

Aboard Joe Mele’s Triple Lindy (right), the pre-race troubles they experienced seem to have followed them onto the racecourse. In the days leading up to the start Triple Lindy was in and out of the water five times attending to troubles with the rudder bearings, satellite phone and engine issues.

Shortly past 0600 UTC this morning Triple Lindy temporarily suspended racing due to troubles with the alternator and is returning to Newport to make repairs. No one on board is injured and the boat and rig are structurally sound, but the lack of an alternator is an issue that has to be fixed. Triple Lindy intends to rejoin the race once repairs are complete.

Back aboard Pata Negra, Hanson described the crew as settling into their watch system and enjoying life away from land.

“The run up to this event is always stressful,” said Hanson. “There’s a hell of a lot to do in ensuring the team and boat are ready for 2-3 weeks at sea safely. But at the start I (along with others on the crew) could feel the stress of onshore life just disappear. Offshore racing is not everyone's cup of tea, but the incredible feeling where you feel a team building stronger together, collaborating and focusing on a common task is amazing. With the vast experience on this boat that has come as far as Australia, Chile (sort of!), France and the UK, you can feel a want to win... we’re definitely focused on it.”

More about the Transatlantic Race 2019
The Transatlantic Race 2019 charts a 2,960-nautical-mile course from Newport, R.I., to Cowes, England. The race is organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club. Pre-start activities will take place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, while awards will be presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight. A single start on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, will feature a fleet of boats ranging from 40 feet to upwards of 100 feet and include everything from the newest modern racers to enduring classics.

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CHARISMA - DAY 1 | busy start

By Guest , on June 26 2019 18:34
As expected, we had all of everything in the first 24 hours from start: Heavy rain, variable to strong winds, reefs, thunderstorms and fog.
To get familiar with the environment, we changed helm every half an hour after the start. With dinner (spaghetti Bolognese prepared by Stefan and Horst) we settled in our watch system. The new sails performing well - jib and mainsail were up, depending on the wind reefed or not.
Currently, we are suffering old seas and light Winds - speed 3 knots. What a difference to the speed of 8 knots this morning. Anyway - everything goes well on board - the captain is now catching up sleep after a busy night.

Constantin & Crew on SY CHARISMA

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Day 1 Aegir

By Guest , on June 26 2019 12:17
Day 1 - Aegir

We are on the train!!
Our navigator, Mike Broughton, in his pre-race spiel had likened our exit out of Newport to that of catching a train, in the sense that there was a passing front travelling west to east, and the timing of our start would likely enable us to jump on the second to last carriage and hang on for as long as we could to the good breeze. So I'm happy to report that we made the train! Mike also described the first 24hrs as wet and busy, well 12hrs in and we're wet but not so busy, We've been lucky that the breeze has held out of the south more or less, giving us reaching, straight-line conditions as we head east. It's certainly nice to be going fast and in the right direction with flat water, albeit a little soggy!
02:00 Boat time. Off to my penthouse suite, aka the fore peak!
Abby Ehler

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TR2019 - end of Day 1 (or it may be some time in Day 2 as we've switched to UTC!)

By Guest , on June 26 2019 02:51
Been a busy day on Pata Negra since the 11am start this morning. A short tacking battle at the start between the rocks and current added an "inshore" feel to this 3,000 mile race. About 1 hour later, things settled down onto being full close hauled to Starboard as we headed for the south of Nantucket Island and the shoals around it.

We've settled now into our 3,3,4 watch system that was put together brilliantly by Aladin. 3 hrs working the boat, 3 on standby and 4 in bed. Wea're in pairs doing this so I'm with Jens (who's joined us from Finland) and it keeps 6 on deck or ready all the time.

I've just finished a Chicken Stirfry (Not Freeze dried! :) ) which seemed to have done the trick with all considering its been raining all day. At one point, so hard we could fill water bottles from the flood pouring off the main... wind has been generally steady but lifted us really nicely upto the waypoint, meaning no tacks.

The run up to this event is always stressful - there's a hell of a lot to do in ensuring the team and boat are ready for 2-3weeks at sea safely. But at the start today, I (along with others on the crew) could feel the stress of on shore life just disappear. Offshore racing is not everyone's cup of tea, but the incredible feeling where you feel a team building stronger together, collaborating and focussing on a common task is amazing. With the vast experience on this boat that has come as far as Australia, Chile (sort of!), France and the UK, you can feel a want to win... we're definitely focused on it.

Catch you all soon! Will have some photos when the rain stops (Friday???!)

Chris on Pata Negra


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TR2019 - Hiro Maru

By Guest , on June 26 2019 00:09
Aloha from Hiro Maru. All is well, crew are getting use to the new environment, including foul weather gear, has been pouring rain the last few hours. Have been mostly close hauled, looking forward to the marks at Nantucket Shoals where we will be changing to kites. Good pressure thus far, hopefully can stay within the small low as it moves. Vietnamese Chicken and rice on the menu tonight will certainly taste good. Hiro Maru out.

Photoboy
06-28-2019, 10:21 AM
Transatlantic Race 2019 Fleet Contending with Light Patches and Gulf Stream


NEWPORT, R.I. — The conditions on the open Atlantic Ocean are far from white knuckle, but the tactics playing out in the Transatlantic Race 2019 are never more interesting.


It’s perhaps due to the lack of screaming conditions that the action is so compelling. Rather than dodging waves and squalls, the fleet is scampering around light patches while setting up for the effects of the Gulf Stream.

At the head of the fleet the supermaxi SHK Scallywag, skippered by Australian David Witt, seems to have sailed itself into a corner from which returning is going to come at a hefty price.
At today’s 1530 UTC position report, some 48 hours after the race start, SHK Scallywag was about 170 nautical miles due west of the waypoint A2 marking the southwestern corner of Point Alpha, the ice limit zone. SHK Scallywag was 146 nautical miles north of Wizard on a bearing of 338, but was making 14.6 knots boatspeed on a heading of 156 degrees.


That has put David and Peter Askew’s Wizard, the Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed VO70, into the virtual lead on the water. Wizard is south of the rhumbline sailing at 15.1 knots on a bearing of 106 degrees in south/southwesterly winds around 10 knots. Wizard, however, is far from in the clear as the crew attempts to slither between two patches of light wind.
SHK Scallywag, meanwhile, hopes to get to rhumbline or south of it before tacking back to starboard. But a light patch of wind awaits in that area.

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TRACKER (http://yb.tl/tr2019)


In between the two and slightly astern is Aegir, the 82-footer chartered by Clarke Murphy. Aegir navigator Mike Broughton reports that they’re setting up for the free ride offered by the Gulf Stream.
“There’s plenty of south wind ahead,” said Broughton. “The way we’re working the Gulf Stream is similar to what Wizard is doing. We’ve had up to 2.5 knots of current from the Gulf Stream. We expect the wind’s going to lighten tomorrow. Hopefully it won’t get too light, but it might be time to break out the Code 0. It’ll be some kind of reaching angle tomorrow.”
READ Boat Blogs


About 285 nautical miles behind Wizard, on a bearing of 265 degrees, are Eric de Turkheim’s 55-footer Teasing Machine (top photo) and Jean-Pierre Dick’s 54-footer The Kid (at right). The two boats are sailing within two miles of each other, with Teasing Machine slightly farther south and slightly ahead.

The trick for the two will be to stay on the back end of the front they’re riding or risk falling into lighter winds.
“We’re doing alright,” said Teasing Machine project manager Laurent Pagès. “We’ve been fighting with squalls, rain and big shifts. The low pressure we’ve been in is starting to run away and we’ll get westerly/northwesterly winds out of that. The conditions have been very variable.


“We’ve been facing some electrical issues, but hopefully that’s sorted now,” Pagès continued. “We’re within in sight of The Kid. JP (Jean-Pierre Dick) made an early move to position south for the low pressure. We’re not that sure about that call just yet, but at some stage we thought it would be good to get low.”


In the middle of the racecourse near rhumbline, the “Group of Six” continues to sail in close proximity to each other. The group includes Giles Redpath’s Pata Negra (just south of rhumbline), Peter Bacon’s Lucy Georgina (on rhumbline), Rives Potts’s Carina, Mark Stevens’ Kiva (at left), Hiro Nakajima’s Hiro Maru (all within 14 nautical miles of each other), and Ryan Hughes’ True, the farthest north of the group.


Shortly past 1200 UTC Carina tacked to port to make some southing in its course. Pata Negra and Kiva followed suit by the 1400 report, and Pata Negra has since put in two more tacks by the 1530 report.
Aboard Pata Negra, onboard reporter Chris Hanson wrote of settling into life offshore.


“The sea temperature went from 14 degrees C to 18 degrees C in one hour... getting near the gulf stream now,” said Hanson. “We've temporarily moved to a four hours on/six hours off watch as it’s running smooth to max on the sleep.”


On Charisma, Constantin Claviez’s Swan 44, the skipper reported on a rotation at the helm position and a savory dinner.
“To get familiar with the environment, we changed helm every half an hour after the start,” said Claviez. “With dinner (spaghetti Bolognese prepared by Stefan (Eschenmoser) and Horst (Sablotny) we settled into our watch system. The new sails are performing well, jib and mainsail were up, depending on the wind reefed or not.


“Currently, we are suffering old seas and light winds, speed 3 knots. What a difference to the speed of 8 knots this morning. Anyway, everything goes well on board, the captain is now catching up sleep after a busy night,” Claviez said.
Back in Portsmouth, R.I., last night, Joe Mele’s Triple Lindy (below) had returned to shore to replace a burned-out alternator. The crew temporarily suspended racing yesterday shortly past 0600 UTC to return to port and make repairs.


“We have a lithium battery system,” said Mele. “Typically, we run it down to 30 percent, where we start to charge it up again. We started the engine and within a minute there was foul-smelling smoke from the engine compartment. There were no flames, but smoke and we could tell in short order that the alternator had burned out.
“We saw a loose wire and reconnected it, attempting to repair it, but there was zero output from the alternator so we could tell it had melted. We could’ve carried on but I decided it wouldn’t be prudent. We would’ve lost our comms and ability to transmit AIS. While it would’ve been valiant and heroic, it wasn’t prudent. I didn’t want to risk the welfare of the crew.
“We’re not gutted, but disappointed,” Mele continued. “We’re determined to do the race and finish. It’ll take more than a burned-out alternator to stop us.”


At 0405:51 UTC, Triple Lindy restarted the race off Castle Hill Light.
“We see a nice low that will develop a couple hundred miles out that GFS is telling me we can hook into and have a nice route tight on the great circle,” said navigator H.L. DeVore. “We’re looking forward to catching up to some boats.”


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Update from Caitlin Murphy Aegir

By Guest , on June 28 2019 12:32
Spirits are high aboard Aegir as the rain has moved on, and we are feasting on Amy Dawson's incredible meals. This morning began with a gorgeous sunrise and moonset, the first we've seen since the clouds have finally lifted. Mild weather and blue skies lifted all of our spirits and prompted some good story telling.

Yesterday around mid afternoon, we realized that our water-maker was no longer working properly. This posed a bit of a challenge to making drinking water, cooking , and of course going to the bathroom (we have fresh water heads). The crew of Aegir have taken this in stride alternating who has the arduous job of pumping liters of salt water through a hand pump to produce fresh water. Our water making system has reached new heights with the innovation of a pipe duct-taped to a hook that is put into our wake that forces the salt water uphill into our buckets. An improvement to getting wet everytime we refilled the bucket!

A couple pods of dolphins have been following us for the past few days, circling to come say hi every few watches and making for some great entertainment! At night, the most incredible part is watching them swim through the phosphorescence - leaving their own glowing wake.
We have just put up our first spinnaker of the crossing as we sail into a ridge of high pressure. With nice weather, lots of candy bars, and calm seas, we are excited for the next few thousand miles!
Caitlin Murphy (on my first trans-Atlantic)

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Aegir Day 3

By Guest , on June 27 2019 13:52
Day 3 - Aegir

The washing machine!
Following our first night at sea in relatively benign seas and moderate winds, we have been treated to a night of washing machine conditions as we negotiate the Gulf Stream. Very confused seas, warm water, shifty, and puffy breeze, needless to say we've had a couple of people feeling worse off for the hot wash and spin cycle conditions! Clarke, our skipper, likened it to a bucking bronco ride.
It's been a difficult race to route so far, as the weather systems are more complex at this time compared to 'normal' summer more simplistic systems. We're trying to position ourselves advantageously to the low pressure system which is advancing on us, whilst making gains on the Gulf stream which doesn't run in a straight line west to east, so with the wind predominantly out of the south, it's been a game of playing port or starboard tack as the wind shifts and tide rate dictate. In terms of the competition we can see that Wizard have been playing a similar game, making gains in the Gulf Stream, whilst Scallywag have taken a northern flyer which doesn't tie in with any of our routing, especially with the ice gate limits being so far south. I'm thinking their Yellow brick tracker may have been hijacked by a migrating pigeon! Time will tell! As I'm writing this it's roughly 1pm UK time on Thursday 27th June, sea conditions are abating, and we're re-grouping and tidying up after last nights bronco riding. One concerning issue is our water-maker, which we've found out doesn't like making water despite being 'operated on' by our boat captain Romain Mouchel. Second operation is booked later today. Therefore our water-making has been fruitless so far and as a precaution we are using our emergency hand water pump to make water in the interim. When you're 14 people on board, drinking water needs certainly add up. Despite all this, the sun is shining, morale is high and we're making fast miles in the right direction. Go Aegir!
Abby Ehler

Photoboy
06-30-2019, 01:20 PM
Transatlantic Race 2019 Fleet in Too Much Wind or Not Enough

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NEWPORT, R.I. – Life in the Transatlantic Race 2019 can be summed up by paraphrasing a familiar survival-of-the-fittest saying: sometimes you’re the keel, sometimes you’re the minnow.
VIEW The YB Race Tracker


This year’s race across The Pond has been so uncharacteristic that the 120 sailors will be forgiven for feeling like they’re a school of minnows. Instead of southwesterlies pushing them along from behind, the fleet has spent an inordinate amount of time pounding upwind.
“It’s been pretty much all upwind until the wee hours of this morning,” said Carina navigator Gary Grant. “The forecast is a bit different from what we expected. This morning we thought the wind would back from the east to the northwest before dying and then filling in from the southwest. Instead, it’s been veering from the east around to the southwest. Whichever way the wind gets here, fine. We just hope to hold the southwesterly to clear the ice zone.”

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http://yb.tl/tr2019

At today’s 1630 UTC position report, Rives Potts’ Carina was 284 nautical miles from waypoint A3, the southeastern corner of the ice zone limit. Grant said that Carina and the J/52 True, co-skippered by Howard Hodgson and Ryan Hughes, have been crossing paths all race. He also mentioned that Mark Stevens’ Kiva has been in the mix, although it has fallen slightly farther astern in the past day.
“We’ve just been trying to sail our own race out here,” said Grant. “We’ve done about 25 sail changes since the start, so the guys are welcoming the respite of light winds out of the southwest. We’re moving slowly, but moving and hope to accelerate this afternoon.”


At the head of the fleet, David Witt and the supermaxi SHK Scallywag (top photo) could also be feeling like minnows today. After storming past David and Peter Askew’s VO70 Wizard and into the lead yesterday while making 24 knots boatspeed, SHK Scallywag now finds itself in too much wind, up to 42 knots from the south.
READ Boat Blogs


Reports are that only two crew are on deck as they are in survival mode with the rest in the companionway hatch. SHK Scallywag recorded a one-hour average true wind speed of 32 knots earlier today, and Witt hasn’t slept in 48 hours. The situation is compounded because the crew is having trouble reefing the huge mainsail.


Overnight David and Peter Askew’s VO70 Wizard regained the lead and at 1630 UTC today led SHK Scallywag by 74 nautical miles. Wizard was positioned 68 nautical miles at a bearing of 105 degrees from waypoint A4, the eastern edge of the ice zone limit, and had 1,628 nautical miles remaining to the finish.


The days ahead are the ones that matter, however, and the conditions look to get tricky again as soon as tomorrow. Wizard and SHK Scallywag will try and hang onto the strong southerlies at the head of the fleet while the majority of the racers, those still approaching waypoint A3, will be working to avoid the growing Azores high pressure.


“The plan currently is to get around this imaginary mark deep in the ocean and then head north to avoid an ever-growing Azores High pressure,” said Chris Hanson from Pata Negra (at right), currently running 90 nautical miles astern of Jean-Pierre Dick’s The Kid, which is 12 nautical miles behind Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine, which is about 30 nautical miles from waypoint A3.
“Our friends ahead seem to already have good breeze, and we so want this,” Hanson continued. “What’s positive is the majority of the course ahead looks off-the-wind, which will be good for our ‘sensitive’ J2 and the general dynamics of this boat as it really likes it off-the-wind. It also means it will be much more comfortable below deck.”

Photoboy
07-01-2019, 10:37 AM
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Update from Scallywag

Over the last 24 hours the team have not been able to pursue Wizard, who are now 100 miles ahead.
We received an update from Miles explaining what’s been going on;
“It’s been a monster night and day, the wind has just dropped below 28kn for the first time in 6 hours.
As you can see from the tracker we are sailing in limp mode.
We have one reef in, and currently no headsail on.
We have a bit of storm damage, but nothing that is making sailing unsafe, we just need to get out of these high winds to fix things before we can push on to the finish”.

The team find themselves nearing a hole between two weather systems.
With just over 1000 miles to go it is becoming a drag race to the finish.


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Chris on Pata Negra describes the beautiful sailing conditions the crew has been facing recently. He writes, "an excellent sunset, more Milky Way on the moonless night and then a stunning sunrise. The wind was very light all night but today it's been building from the south to currently 19kts allowing for excellent sailing conditions with the Code 0 at between 11 to 14 knots."

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However, Chris expects that Pata Negra may have some trouble on the horizon. "There looks to be a high pressure system building from the Azores to the UK which will be a windless brick wall in our journey," says Chris. "Getting through this looks very challenging and out ETA could go out an extremely long way."


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“Greetings from midway between Alpha 2 and 3 on a magnificent offshore night,” wrote Kiva (below, right) navigator Hank Halstead last night. “No moon, but a full Milky Way of stars everywhere except to the west, where low pressure looms. What fun!"
Of course, at the front of the fleet, there's less time for sightseeing.
Wizard Posts 492NM in 24 Hours in Transatlantic Race 2019 -

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(July 1, 2019; Day 7) – David and Peter Askew’s Wizard continues to set a blazing pace across the Atlantic, leading the fleet of 12 yachts competing in the Transatlantic Race 2019.

Wizard, the canting keel VO70 that won the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race as Groupama 4, hooked onto a low-pressure system on June 29 delivering strong southerly winds between 25 and 40 knots, and took off like a bat out of hades.

Wizard put up a 24-hour run of 492 nautical miles between 1230 UTC from yesterday to today. At today’s 1400 UTC position report, Wizard had 1,196 nautical miles to the finish in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.

“We’ve had an awesome past few days,” said navigator Will Oxley. “We’ve been staying on the low. It’s been quite wet and squally. We sailed a conservative plan for a day or two, but now we’re going to back to full noise. The breeze is down to 20 knots and there aren’t any squalls, so we’re able to use the full sail plan.”

In the stormy stuff Wizard was sailing with a reefed mainsail, J4, and storm jib staysail. Now they’re back to full mainsail, the J0 headsail, and storm jib staysail. At 1400 Wizard led David Witt and the supermaxi SHK Scallywag by 102 nautical miles in the race for line honors. But the path ahead looks to get lighter.

“The next challenge is the ridge of high pressure between us and the Lizard,” Oxley said. “There’s a double-stacked high, with one center off the Azores and the other further north. We’re aiming for a spot where we think we can get between the two. The breeze is going to get light but, fingers crossed, we’ll get through to the other side. We’re still looking at July 5 at the Lizard and the morning of July 6 into Cowes.”

Last night the two 54-footers, Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine and Jean-Pierre Dick’s The Kid, cleared waypoint A3, the southeastern corner of the ice zone limit. Today both crews were contending with light, 10- to 15-knot westerlies and jibing downwind to stay off of the southeastern edge of the ice boundary.

Giles Redpath’s 46-foot Pata Negra, skippered by Andrew Lis, is the next yacht expected to pass waypoint A3 and begin the turn to the northeast towards England.

While the two leaders have had a couple of days of strong winds, the six yachts that make up the second half of the fleet—including Lucy Georgina, Carina, True, Kiva, Hiro Maru, and Charisma—are about to sail into their own stormy weather. A low pressure forming to the east of Nova Scotia will engulf them in the coming days with gale force winds.

At 1400 UTC the group was separated by 199 nautical miles, from Peter Bacon’s 44-foot Lucy Georgina to Constantin Claviez’s Nautors Swan 441 Charisma, and sailing along the southern boundary of the ice zone in southerly winds of about 20 knots.

“There’s a low pressure on its way, it looks like we’ll get 30 to 35 knots sustained, with gusts of 45 to 50 knots, mostly from the south,” said Mark D’Arcy, navigator for Hiro Maru. “Hiro Maru is very solidly built and well equipped for those conditions.”

“This race is long, I must say,” Nakajima said today. “We’ve been out here for a week and we’re not quite halfway there yet. I was pretty tired the first three days, but my fatigue is over and everyone onboard is in a rhythm now.”

The strong weather comes on the backside of a glorious day of sailing yesterday, the type of weather that makes racing across the Atlantic a wonderful journey.

“Greetings from midway between Alpha 2 and 3 on a magnificent offshore night,” shared Kiva navigator Hank Halstead last night. “No moon, but a full Milky Way of stars everywhere except to the west, where low pressure looms. What fun!

“The southerly filled in (yesterday) for a glorious ‘bluebird day’ of power reaching to the Alpha 2 ice gate, which we rounded in 79.5-degree water. No bergy bits here! We’ve learned, once again, to appreciate the isometric aspects of maintaining balance while living in a popcorn popper and are all so pleased to begin reaching through life, once again.”

Angry Dolphin
07-01-2019, 01:50 PM
How does a Volvo 70 outpace a 100' maxi?

Photoboy
07-02-2019, 09:33 AM
http://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/78765972664818594070.jpg


Wizard Update

Time 1020 UTC. 49 24N 022 01W Speed 19.2 knots Course 075 magnetic. True Wind Speed: 16 knots.

810nm to the finish and approaching the high pressure ridge. Wind speed is dropping,the sky is clearing and the barometer is rising. The sleigh ride is coming to an end and now its back to tactical sailing.

The trick is to get into the high enough to use the shape to get a nice lift on the exit, while keeping enough wind speed to keep moving. Sometimes it feels a bit like Icarus making sure we don't fly too close to the sun (read High).

We don't know where our closest competitor Scallywag is (and presumably neither do you, the reader). Their tracker has not worked since 2300utc last night. After about two hours I got worried for them and tried calling their sat phone: no answer! Shit! I then began composing an email to try to establish that they were OK. Luckily I got a call back from Miles (Navigator) on Scallywag who indicated they were fine. Phew! That nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach subsided. I've been involved in enough "dramas" at sea and did not need another one.

Luckily, the sailing instructions state that "If a transponder fails, the Organising Authority will attempt to establish a communication plan with that yacht." Hopefully we can all continue to watch the interesting race between the 70' Wizard and the 100' Scallywag play out, with regular updates of their position, as we race towards the Lizard, then Cowes.

Cheers,

Will

******************

http://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/55584989543087198716.jpg



July 1 Update: Wizard Posts 492NM in 24 Hours in Transatlantic Race 2019
july1 wizard sNEWPORT, R.I. — David and Peter Askew’s Wizard (at right) continues to set a blazing pace across the Atlantic, leading the fleet of 12 yachts competing in the Transatlantic Race 2019.

On Saturday, Wizard, the canting keel VO70 that won the 2011-’12 Volvo Ocean Race as Groupama 4, hooked onto a low-pressure system delivering strong southerly winds between 25 and 40 knots, and took off like a bat out of hades.

Wizard put up a 24-hour run of 492 nautical miles between 1230 UTC from Sunday to today. At today’s 1400 UTC position report Wizard had 1,196 nautical miles to the finish in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.

“We’ve had an awesome past few days,” said navigator Will Oxley. “We’ve been staying on the low. It’s been quite wet and squally. We sailed a conservative plan for a day or two, but now we’re going to back to full noise. The breeze is down to 20 knots and there aren’t any squalls, so we’re able to use the full sail plan.”

In the stormy stuff Wizard was sailing with a reefed mainsail, J4 and storm jib staysail. Now they’re back to full mainsail, the J0 headsail and storm jib staysail. At 1400 Wizard led David Witt and the supermaxi SHK Scallywag by 102 nautical miles in the race for line honors. But the path ahead looks to get lighter.

“The next challenge is the ridge of high pressure between us and the Lizard,” Oxley said. “There’s a double-stacked high, with one center off the Azores and the other further north. We’re aiming for a spot where we think we can get between the two. The breeze is going to get light but, fingers crossed, we’ll get through to the other side. We’re still looking at July 5 at the Lizard and the morning of July 6 into Cowes.”

Last night Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine and Jean-Pierre Dick’s The Kid cleared waypoint A3, the southeastern corner of the ice zone limit. Today both crews were contending with light, 10- to 15-knot westerlies and jibing downwind to stay off of the southeastern edge of the ice boundary.

Giles Redpath’s Pata Negra, skippered by Andrew Lis, is the next yacht expected to pass waypoint A3 and begin the turn to the northeast towards England.

While the two leaders have had a couple of days of strong winds, the six yachts that make up the second half of the fleet—including Lucy Georgina, Carina, True, Kiva, Hiro Maru and Charisma—are about to sail into their own stormy weather. A low pressure forming to the east of Nova Scotia will engulf them in the coming days with gale force winds.

At 1400 UTC the group was separated by 199 nautical miles, from Peter Bacon’s Lucy Georgina to Constantin Claviez’s Charisma, and sailing along the southern boundary of the ice zone in southerly winds of about 20 knots.

“There’s a low pressure on its way, it looks like we’ll get 30 to 35 knots sustained, with gusts of 45 to 50 knots, mostly from the south,” said Mark D’Arcy, navigator for Hiro Maru. “Hiro Maru is very solidly built and well equipped for those conditions.”

“This race is long, I must say,” Nakajima said today. “We’ve been out here for a week and we’re not quite halfway there yet. I was pretty tired the first three days, but my fatigue is over and everyone onboard is in a rhythm now.”

The strong weather comes on the backside of a glorious day of sailing yesterday, the type of weather that makes racing across the Atlantic a wonderful journey.

“Greetings from midway between Alpha 2 and 3 on a magnificent offshore night,” wrote Kiva navigator Hank Halstead last night. “No moon, but a full Milky Way of stars everywhere except to the west, where low pressure looms. What fun!

“The southerly filled in (Sunday) for a glorious ‘bluebird day’ of power reaching to the Alpha 2 ice gate, which we rounded in 79.5-degree water. No bergy bits here! We’ve learned, once again, to appreciate the isometric aspects of maintaining balance while living in a popcorn popper and are all so pleased to begin reaching through life, once again."

***************************************

Pata Negra - can we hold the lead?

Last updated: Never Created: July 01 2019 21:29 Hits: 74
PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MAIL.

Friday 2pm UTC and all's good on Pata Negra. The music is playing on

the aft deck (we've concluded that Aussies have a strange taste in

music) - the boat is drying out and sleep is all topped up.

Last 36 hrs have been pretty tough with 20-25kts from the SE meaning

we've been hard on the wind is a very very choppy sea state. We've

moved into the full Gulf stream which flows in a meandering fashion

through these waters. It's been warm, as the stream flows 28 deg

temp, but with a flow rate of up to 5 knots, it makes the sea

extremely rough. Pata Negra, with it's wide bottom and heavy chine

generally doesn't like that as falls off the wave with a huge bang.


**************************************

Aegir Day 4
The Fall Out! (Warning: contains toilet humour!)
Toilets and boats, a match made in hell and something that has become a theme of ego disaster especially in my career of offshore racing, and this race has not disappointed in that department. So our water-maker is not working and we're racing a superyacht who's toilets rely on fresh water to electric flush out ones business. The fall out from this, when your water tank is empty and your water-maker is not working......well..... you get the picture! It reminds me of a similar, yet different situation during the last Volvo Ocean Race when not enough poo bags had been packed for the leg, (this is a racing yacht with no flushing toilet, so you do your business in a bag and eject the paper bag out in the most dramatic or inconspicuous way, character dependent). The similarities are that both incidents require you to get ingenious with ways of going to the toilet and how to flush a non-co-operating specimen down the toilet. The number of trips to the back of the boat to collect a bucket of seawater will generally scale the level of non-cooperation of said specimen. But oh, the emotions, the stories, the humour, the jokes; they remain the same on any of the races I have completed involving toilet mishaps. And the fact that we are on a plush, 4 toileted yacht with faux marble and veneer interiors, with air conditioning only ads to the bizarre predicament of the toilet misdemeanors!
Despite this, we are all still smiling and managing to see the funny side!
Abby Ehler

************************


Waves over the deck mean there is little air below deck and everything

/ everyone is wet through. However - its warm!

Now a bit for the sailors: We've been pretty fortunate that we've

been largely above and in front of forming depressions which means the

wind has been steady from the SE and we've largely sailed the rhum

line. As we got into the streams the water temp quickly rose from 18

to 28deg C and we got on a nice flow for the last 36 hrs. So although

we've been managing about 8.5 to 9 knots boat speed we've been flushed

along at 12 knots over the ground. We've just popped out of a flow

and hope to pick up another one soon. We might say it's skill, but

we've had some luck that we're not so fast to run into the high

pressure ahead which is why you may have seen the other boats take

radical action to avoid running out of wind. So far, this has worked

well and put us (physically) ahead of some of the key competition.

700 miles on a stbd tack close hauled.... definitely something to

remember!

Routing so far showing a Wednesday 10th finish, so looks like no

records (and a few excuses for being late back to work).

Last night we saw some ships and cruising yacht - quite unusual

considering the vastness of this place. Also Andy was busy repairing

bits of the boat which did give a fab firework display as he formed a

fix with the angle grinder. Sparks everywhere in the dark night! You

have to be creative... you can't carry spares for everything and you

have to make things work.

Aladin, Alice, Scarlett & Andreas are the younger end of the crew but

definitely not short of talent. Scarlett's driving consistently above

100% on polar performance and Aladin's all round skills from living on

a boat since the age of 8 show through. It feels we've 9 drivers and

a navigator on board, which dramatically helps keep the focus through

the night hours. Andreas in the same way tackles every action with

ease demonstrating years of sailing experience on the advanced race

circuits. An amazing amount of experience and capability that will

no doubt help their sailing careers in the future.

Might not be an update tomorrow. Forecast is 25knts on the nose again - oh joy!

--

Chris Hanson

Pata Negra


*************************************


Wizard Report, Day 4

Last updated: Never Created: July 01 2019 20:46 Hits: 47
Hi All,

Day 4 in the Transat Race on the mighty Wizard: 1000nm down with 2089nm left to the finish.



The Gulfstream played a big role for the first few days as we hooked into a nice warm eddy and managed to get up to 3.4 knots of assistance. The other benefit of the warm water is that the wind is well mixed (ie solid), whereas in the cold water north of the stream, the wind is poorly mixed and you never seem to get the breeze forecasted by the GRIB files. For these few days, we had ideal Volvo 70 weather and managed some good miles. However a large high pressure system in the Eastern Atlantic is blocking and slowing the normal west to east movement of the pressure systems. We were forced to sail a zig-zag course as we sailed over the top of a slow moving small High, while those behind us, like Ageir, have been able to sail straight as they are sitting behind the system.



We had a small hiccup last night as we sailed through a large cloud line (my bad) and ended up getting stuck for a while, when the clouds unloaded in the early hours of the morning. We managed to extricate ourselves after a few hours and normal progress was resumed.



As I write this we are just passing the SE tip of the Point Alpha Ice box and have a clear run at the Lizard Gate (a line we have to pass through on the SW end of the UK which is the traditional finish of transatlantic races gone by) some 1927nm away. Looks like some great sailing for the next three days as we head NE in good running reaching conditions. We then have to figure out how to tackle the large High pressure blocking our way into the English Channel.



A rather large 100 footer has just popped up on the AIS doing 3 knots faster than us in our rear view mirror. It has been great to beat them to Point Alpha but waterline length has finally caught up to us. In a 10 day race Scallywag owes us around 44 hours so we are fine on handicap with them so far!



Breeze is heading and slowly building and there are some showers heading our way. Interesting times and great to have some competition around.



Cheers for now.

Will

Photoboy
07-03-2019, 09:28 AM
July 2 Update: Transatlantic Race 2019 Leaders Setting Up to Slow Down


NEWPORT, R.I. - For the last three days the frontrunners in the Transatlantic Race 2019 have been striding across the North Atlantic at 20-plus-knot speeds, eating up the miles to Cowes in the strong southerlies - exactly the dramatic conditions and high octane experience their crews signed up for.

http://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/69523945831461693076.jpg

TRACKER (http://yb.tl/tr2019)


Sadly, the big speeds and ‘yeehaa’ moments are soon to come to an end for the two frontrunners, David and Peter Askew’s VO70 Wizard and Lee Seng Huang's 100-foot maxi SHK Scallywag, at least. Already this morning, Wizard’s boatspeed had dropped from 20 knots to 15.


The reason for this slow-down is a ridge of high pressure centred off the west of Ireland that lies in their path. As Wizard’s navigator Will Oxley described it: “Wind speed is dropping, the sky is clearing and the barometer is rising. The sleigh ride is coming to an end and now it’s back to tactical sailing. The trick is to get into the high enough to use its shape to get a nice lift on the exit, while keeping enough windspeed to keep moving. Sometimes it feels a bit like Icarus - making sure we don’t fly too close to the sun (read ‘high’).”


If the wind was dropping for the frontrunners, the opposite was true for the boats some 1,000 nautical miles astern at the aft end of the Transatlantic Race 2019 fleet. Today a front associated with a depression centred just south of Newfoundland was rolling across the tail-enders and bringing gale-force winds.


The group of boats rounding the southeasternmost point of the ice exclusion zone (A3), such as Lucy Georgina, Carina, True, Hiro Maru, Kiva and Charisma, in particular, were feeling the effects of the strongest winds. However, the depression is forecast to move northeast over the next 24 hours with the gale abating, so the mid-fleet should be spared its full force.


http://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/74204350713842407898.jpg


While the VO70 and maxi are slogging it out for the lead on the water, there is a similar tense battle between the 46- to 54-foot mid-fleet trio. Here Erik de Turkheim’s Nivelt/Muratet 54 Teasing Machine was just 20 miles ahead of Vendée Globe legend Jean-Pierre Dick’s Verdier 54, The Kid, as she passed the ice exclusion zone’s A4 corner at midday UTC. However, it is currently Giles Redpath’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra which leads under IRC.
Like the frontrunners, this group is preparing for a prolonged period of light winds as they cross another area of high pressure. While a long, slow race was forecast before the crews left Newport a week ago, another round of light conditions is set to further delay their ETAs into Cowes.


Crews are already wondering if they will have to start rationing food and water soon. As Chris Hanson on Pata Negra reported: “Earlier today Andy and I did a full food audit. This is because there looks to be a high-pressure system building from the Azores to the UK which will be a windless brick wall in our journey. Getting through this looks very challenging and our ETA could go out an extremely long way. A week is a long time in a forecast, but it is very concerning. We’re okay on water... just might be a bit thinner... (who’s moaning!).”
At present leading this IRC 2 group on corrected time is the largest, Clarke Murphy’s Aegir (top photo), but navigator Mike Broughton wondered how long it would last. This morning Aegir was making 11 knots in a westerly wind, while also preparing for light days ahead.



“Our route is looking very north to get around the worst of the two ridges and the big high pressure,” said Broughton. “We will have a difficult day for the next 24 hours because the rivals in our class, over 320 miles back are going to have stronger winds from the south so we will take a few losses then.”
Aside from the racing, there is high drama on board the Rogers 82. “I am getting court-martialed tonight,” Broughton revealed. “There is a cupcake investigation going because four cupcakes went missing and it has turned into a great mystery who took them. I’m innocent, but I may be going down anyway.”


LINKY (https://transatlanticrace.com/2015-06-15-18-54-32/2015-race/771-july-2-update-transatlantic-race-2019-leaders-setting-up-to-slow-down)

Photoboy
07-04-2019, 10:19 AM
http://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/78176115334771050038.jpg


July 3 Update: Transatlantic Race 2019 Features Match Races Throughout Fleet


NEWPORT, R.I. — With the Irish coast just 200 nautical miles away for race leader Wizard at 1500 UTC today, the front runners in the Transatlantic Race 2019 might seem to be on the home straight, but there remain many hurdles and potholes ahead before they cross the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line this weekend.

http://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/70135626162173812584.jpg

TRACKER (http://yb.tl/tr2019)


At present David and Peter Askew’s VO70 and Lee Seng Huang's 100-foot maxi SHK Scallywag (top photo) are attempting to find the best way to exit an area of high pressure just off Ireland’s west coast. Once free, the forecast warns of fickle headwinds for the final 160 nautical miles they must sail up the English Channel to Cowes.

Since late evening Monday the tracker has stopped functioning onboard SHK Scallywag. Positions are now being sent through manually from the maxi and at 1500 UTC this showed her having made major inroads into Wizard’s lead. On Monday morning SHK Scallywag had been trailing her rival by around 90 miles. At 1500 this afternoon this had dwindled to 38 miles, although Wizard was making better speed further from the high’s center.

Similarly, astern of the leaders the match race has closed up again between the French 54-footers, Eric de Turckheim’s Nivelt/Muratet Teasing Machine (photo left, to the right) and the Verdier-designed The Kid (photo left, left), skippered by Vendée Globe legend Jean-Pierre Dick. On Monday afternoon, The Kid was some 40 miles astern, but this afternoon at 1500 she had drawn level.

“Conditions are great,” enthused Dick. “We are surfing with a depression coming behind us, and have averaged 15 to 16 knots over the last few hours. We’re enjoying this a lot but the best thing is that we are now very close to our incredible competitor Teasing Machine.” They had been able to see their rivals until this morning when, despite sailing in 20 to 24 knots of wind, fog had set in.

Highlight of the last 24 hours for the crew on The Kid was being visited by some whales less than 10 meters from the boat. “It was a beautiful moment,” recalled Dick.

http://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/85128003238175696079.jpg


http://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/54104691879985465633.jpg

With a sizeable front to the west, Dick was expecting the breeze to build slightly to around 30 knots and he was anticipating they would drop their spinnaker before it hit. Otherwise, Dick observed the usual compression and expansion happening across the fleet. As he came into Teasing Machine, so he expects the smaller boats behind to make in-roads into them as they approach with the breeze.

Directly astern, Giles Redpath’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra is attempting to hang on to the coattails of her larger rivals. From onboard Chris Hansen reported that they currently were enjoying 21 knots of wind from the south, but noted: “The sunshine has disappeared and we are into the grey North Atlantic. The sea is pretty flat, but we have had a nice bit of surfing. We got 18.8 knots out of the boat this morning.”

To the south of the 54s, Pata Negra is in slightly less pressure but steadily averaging 12 to 14 knots. Their concern is not the big breeze to the west, but the lack of it to the east. “Basically, it is going to get very light over the next couple of days.”

The ridge, which this afternoon spans more than 400 miles down the great circle to the Lizard, is what is prompting all the IRC 2 boats to head a long way north. However, according to Hansen, the boats behind Clarke Murphy’s 82-foot Aegir will be able to take a less indirect course to remain in the breeze. This is one reason why Pata Negra has currently relieved Aegir of the lead under IRC corrected time in their class.

Despite being due east of the ice gate Hansen was still wearing shorts, however it had just started to drizzle so the foul weather was being broken out again on deck.

The biggest breeze in the fleet today, as yesterday, remains for the tail-enders, which were still tackling the 25- to 30-knot southerlies from a slow-moving front associated with a depression that over the last 24 has moved slowly north, now centred just north of Newfoundland.




This afternoon Rives Potts’ “good ’ol boys” aboard the venerable McCurdy & Rhodes 48 Carina and Ryan Hughes’ J/52 True were leading the IRC 3 fleet both on the water and on corrected time past the ice exclusion zone’s point A4 after which they will be more or less free to sail their own course for the remainder of the race.

Aegir averted disaster today when the crew discovered the spinnaker halyard strop had chafed to only two strands remaining.

“We sailed for a continuous 48 hours with our A4 (spinnaker) in the air,” said captain Romain Mouchel. “We sent our bowman, Al Fraser (right), to the top of the rig to investigate the reason for the chafing. We have started our own splicing school on board following this incident. Al has been teaching the Murphy girls the basics of whipping/splicing (apprentices ???) as well as making a new lock strop so we could be back to 100 percent and able to peel spinnakers.”


***********************************


Pata Negra - the 19 knot club gets formed

By Guest , on July 04 2019 15:15
Today there's a real feeling of deja vu. Once again awoken by the

boat cavitating over the waves as 8 tonnes of yacht lifts and turns

into a surf board. The roar of water and the screams of joy on the

deck as the boat pushes past previous records and on to 19.92 knots.

Once again Andreas at the helm. When I came up there's a mood of

delight as he leaps in front of me and taunts me that the record is

his! Although he came on as a bowman, there's no doubt Andreas has

talent and like the other younger crew members has done nothing but

sail... Sailing is their life, their passion and their job.


Andreas has been working in the US for a charity linked to sailing and

is soon embarking on a M32 campaign with some friends. He's very

experienced at foiling, where the sail boat lifts on a hydrofoil out

of the water so extreme speeds can be achieved and doing this crossing

I did wonder how long it will be before someone “foils” across the

atlantic far faster than a ship or power boat could do it.

We've done over 1,000 miles now under A sail and without a gybe or

tack. The boat seems familiar healed to port and we're all used to

the noise of rushing water past the hull. We know in a few days

though that will change. This morning was thick thick fog. You

could see about 80 metres in all directions and we knew from AIS there

were various ships near us. Good thing they could see us on their

AIS too.

Route planning is getting very stressful for Rob. Out of the models

we are downloading, they show a preference to go North to avoid the

high pressure ahead but this adds huge distance what we must sail.

How much do you trust a particular forecast and how far out can it be

accurate? So we're taking a middle ground but for those following the

tracker, this demonstrates why Teasing Machine and others have sailed

over 100 miles North of us. They're faster so they get impacted

harder by the high pressure whilst the slower boats behind can take a

more direct route on a new depression coming across the Atlantic.

We're close to 1200 miles to the finish, just a couple of Fastnet

races!!!

Food planning is getting tighter.... I'm trusting this PC Routing

software to get it right that we don't go hungry... Off to serve up

Lentil soup and pizza pieces.

Chris Hanson on Pata Negra... wondering how I get my record back?

************************************************** **


Aegir Update - 'Bang in the Night'

By Guest , on July 04 2019 15:05
BANG........
1:00 am this morning in the pitch black damp of the North Atlantic, as we plunge forward at 14 knots of boat speed under spinnaker. Cold, wet and suddenly surprised. The bow jumps up as the boat decelerates instantly. I yell; "We hit something." Another yells over the noise; "Is it the chute??".

In the prearranged signal to those below, I repeatedly pound my fist on the deck next to the wheel as we all bellow "Everyone on deck, on deck, on deck, on deck...".
When inevitably asked why spend vacations racing across the North Atlantic, I give pretty much the same answer; it is an enormous challenge. I think some people perceive that as a macho response to man vs nature or some ancient Poseidon complex. Not in the slightest. If asked further I explain that the challenges are multiple, varied; dynamic and great fun. Almost all the time. Truly invigorating time in a different environment from our day to day.


If you are reading this you probably already know these challenges; weather, navigation, boat performance, crew dynamics, tactics, maneuvers, trim, preparation for the totally unexpected. Drilled into me for years was the notion that 90% of a successful race happens before the starting line. And while history has proven that to be largely correct, the best prepared boat cannot change weather, the pounding of wind, seas and salt water on boats and people. Exhaustion and concentration or simple boat chafe consistently derail preparation. And when asked about crew and who fits best to create a fun experience in this environment the answer always the same--how they handle the surprise at 3 am in the dark. And the humor to laugh later, whatever was faced.


So last night's challenge in the dark was the strop connecting the tack of the sail to the loop that attaches the tack line on the bowsprit. As everyone rushed on deck, some only in boxers and boots, a torch shone on the A2 flying from the top of the mast like laundry flapping on a clothesline. The retrieval line dragging in the water out of reach. It all worked out... spinnaker taken down, sent below to a massive packing job, tack strop replaced and by 1:30 am spinnaker up and we were full speed.

Back to the main challenge of the high and low systems shoving each other like wrestlers as we race north around the high and boats behind catching us with the winds from the low they are riding.
Challenges, challenges..
Clarke Murphy

Happy July 4th from the North Atlantic


***************************************


Aegir update - Chafe, a sailors worst nightmare

By Guest , on July 03 2019 16:46
Chafe, a Sailor's worst Nightmare

I don't mean it in the way that you are all thinking of right now ... I am talking about rope chafe.
We sailed for a continuous 48 hours with our A4 (spinnaker) in the air and when the time came to peel to our favorite code 0 (reaching sail), we realised our halyard strop only had two strands left..... this could have been bad. Having a sail fall out from the sky is never a good thing, particularly at night.

We sent our bowman, Al Fraser to the top of the rig to investigate the reason for the chafing and whilst up there he made the most of it by taking a few holidays snaps (see attached).
We have started our own splicing school on board following this incident. Al Fraser has been teaching the Murphy girls the basics of whipping/splicing (apprentices ???) as well as making a new lock strop so we could be back to 100% and able to peel spinnakers.

As I write this, we are sailing under A2 in 10-12 knots of wind and beautiful sunshine - a nice respite after all the cloud of the last few days.

Romain Mouchel
Aegir Captain

Photoboy
07-05-2019, 10:33 AM
July 5 Update: SHK Scallywag in Final Throes of Transatlantic Race 2019

NEWPORT, R.I. - Eyes are glued to the tracker and bets have been laid for when the first two arrivals in the Transatlantic Race 2019 will reach Cowes.

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At midday UTC, Lee Seng Huang's 100-foot maxi, SHK Scallywag had just passed Portland Bill and was using her length and towering rig to defy both the current and apparent lack of breeze in the forecast. The Andy Dovell design was making 12 knots directly at Hurst Narrows and the western entrance to the Solent prior to the final 11 nautical mile leg to the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line off Cowes. She had extended her lead to 45 miles over David and Peter Askew’s VO70 Wizard, which at midday was nosing into Lyme Bay to the east of Start Point.

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While a late Friday afternoon finish has been anticipated for SHK Scallywag and an early Saturday morning one for Wizard, progress for the two leaders is expected to slow this afternoon as the tide turns foul both in the Solent and along the Dorset coast. Due to the phase of the moon, this foul tide will be a big one, so gains and losses will be about rock-hopping along the coast, something that neither boat will be relishing due to their deep draft (SHK Scallywag draws 5.6m (18 feet)).

Onboard Wizard, the ultra-competitive Charlie Enright was having to tame his frustration, having not only been helpless to prevent SHK Scallywag from sailing past them, but also due to their partial invisibility at the time due to having an inoperative tracker.


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“We had to make our big tactical decision about the high pressure and they weren’t on the tracker, so we had no clue of where they were. Whether they sailed to our line because they could see us and wanted to put themselves in the same body of water and just grind it out - I don’t know. At the same time, it's like, ‘It shouldn’t be that close to begin with,’ so that tempers expectation,” Enright philosophizes.

As to how the larger maxi has managed to extend on them, the former Volvo Ocean Race skipper maintains that aside from their waterline length advantage “these conditions certainly suit them as it is very tidal.” Timing-wise he believes that SHK Scallywag is also better set-up to make the gate at the Needles this afternoon. “It is an unfortunate time to be finishing because while they get in early, there is a big transition to come. We were assuming 24 hours to the finish from the Lizard, but it's likely to take us longer,” Enright said.

Looking ahead to this afternoon Enright said: “Right now we are going upwind in a little bit more wind than we anticipated - a little easterly drainage gradient and it should heat up to be a nice British summer day. Then there’ll be a thermal component and there’ll be a tricky transition into and out of that as the sun goes down. Plus there are a lot of tidal gates. So, the hardest part of the trip in some ways is still to come.”

While anchoring, to prevent them drifting backwards if they are becalmed in the foul tide is usually unthinkable in a yacht this big, Enright confirmed that it has been something they have considered.

Meanwhile, out in the Atlantic, two scenarios are playing out. There is the northern group, that is the next wave following the leaders. With the exception of Giles Redpath’s Pata Negra these have now turned their bows east, away from the direction of Iceland and are making progress around the northern perimeter of the giant windless zone of high pressure.


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Holding third place on the water, Clarke Murphy’s 82-foot Aegir is now on course for the Scilly Isles and Land’s End albeit only making 7 knots. Astern of her Eric De Turckheim’s Teasing Machine is taking the most extreme route north. While Aegir yesterday almost reached 52°N, the French offshore aces are already up to 53°42N but making twice the speed as Aegir. Astern, her rival Jean-Pierre Dick’s The Kid is attempting a slower but less circuitous route around the northern side of the high.

Enjoying not having to add miles to their already lengthy voyages by having to sidestep a high-pressure system, the second half of the fleet continues to sail a route east along or near to the great circle to the Lizard. They continue to reach along in the southerly wind in the front that has been with them since they were passing south of the Point Alpha ice exclusion zone earlier this week.

lucy sLeading the charge in this group is Lucy Georgina (at right), the XP44 campaigned by Englishman Peter Bacon.

“We have had a good couple of days,” Bacon reported. “We have covered about 500 miles in the last two days, which is good for us because we are not a very big boat. Everyone is well. The last few days have been a bit frustrating at times but we are heading more or less where we want to go.”

Earlier in the week when the front was at its strongest Bacon said it had been manageable, typically blowing 25 knots but at times over 30. “What made it uncomfortable was the current because we were in and out of the Gulf Stream and wind against current makes it quite choppy.”

With Constantin Claviez’s Swan 441 Charisma the final boat to pass A3, the southeastern most corner of the Point Alpha ice exclusion zone, earlier today, the fleet is now free to sail its own course until the final mandatory mark of the course, the 4-mile long gate south of the Lizard.

Dumass Head
07-05-2019, 11:25 AM
Good for the lads to finally get the bad luck money off their backs!