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Thread: East Coast Delivery From Franco-ville

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    East Coast Delivery From Franco-ville



    Onboard update from Amory as the team closes out their third day at sea for their Atlantic crossing training sail from France to Newport, RI:

    48 0.476n
    016 11.906w
    Foggy, sea temp 22C
    13kts of wind, 14kts of boatspeed
    Upwind, flat seas with a long swell

    It has been a long time since I’ve been able to write on a bouncing keyboard! Feels surprisingly good… (hope those feels last to the end of this update 🙂 )

    So. A transatlantic to Newport that was originally planned for May 1st is finally underway, and to say we are excited to be out here is a huge understatement







    Between the obvious passion the six of us onboard have for sailing across the ocean, the important miles of testing on our new foil, bringing this boat to friends and family in Newport and the simple privilege of being able to do what we love to do again – there is a lot for us to be happy about.

    Crossing the Atlantic east to west and this far north is probably classifiable as a delivery route; we’re going against the grain in a lot of ways. Not only are we sailing into Gulf Stream currents but we’re also going to be bashing through east-moving low pressure system after low pressure system.







    US-to-France and you’d be looking for one front to ride all the way across and a record to break while doing it. France-to-US and we’re basically running through a series of strong walls until we reach Rhode Island. Maybe not the quickest or most pleasant of itineraries, but that’s what you get out here in the late summer as storms start rolling up the eastern seaboard and then out to sea. On the plus, it does give us a huge variety of conditions to train in, and we will certainly be making the most of it as it’s been seven months since our last offshore adventure!

    Looking forward to being in touch again as we make our way west. Plenty of fun things to relay from out here on 11th Hour Racing.

    Amo
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    The Voyage Continues



    Onboard update from Amory on day 6 of their Atlantic crossing from Brittany, France to Newport, RI.

    43° 26.8 N
    35° 18.0 W
    Sea temp 25C
    10kts of wind, 9 kts of boat speed
    Upwind, calm seas and clear skies







    These are our first miles on the new foil and unanimous opinion is that it’s some next-level kit. When it’s actively lifting, polar percentages have averaged as high as 150%, with some occasional spikes to 175%. That means we are sailing the boat 50-75% faster than its designed speeds on the previous V1 foils. This upgrade produces some exhilarating and, to be totally honest, somewhat terrifying performance!

    The first cold front we encountered brought steady 25-35 knot winds and moderate seas. In a fast upwind mode we were averaging well in excess of 20 knots, but it felt like when we were maybe pushing the limits. I had wondered what it would feel like to foil across the ocean at night and we were doing it and my first thoughts were – “I’m not sure I want to be doing it!” Spending more time in the air than on the water we throttled back a bit and chalked it up to some good data collection before taking stock of what onboard broke free. The list was a bit long. Sorry, Irish!

    With little time to spare we prepared ourselves for the second front. This one was equally as potent but we were dead upwind into a far more confused sea state. Another rough night of thrashing and bashing and bunk levitation behind us, we came out the other side this morning to a beautiful sunny ridge of high pressure and spirits are high. Today has been beautiful and the cabin roof is open. Easy to be reminded of how special sailing across oceans can be – especially now that we can again see it!

    With both fronts behind us we can focus a bit on the other objectives of this trip to Newport. First up is a NOAA weather buoy deployment. We’ve been given a drifter buoy to drop at a designated region and tomorrow we heave it over the side. There are over 1200 of these bad b(u)oys slowly meandering around the world’s oceans. Due to Covid, there has been less Atlantic traffic and consequently less buoys being dropped and data being collected. We’re happy to help lend a hand knowing it directly benefits the Atlantic/European weather models for mariners like us who need and use regularly and helps scientists understand the effects of climate change on ocean health with measurement data on sea surface temperature and barometric pressure.

    Hope everyone is having a great week. From the middle of the Atlantic, halfway home,
    Amo

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



    Exploring the Newfoundland Grand Banks – OBR Report #3
    Posted August 10, 2020
    Onboard update from Amory Ross on day nine of 11th Hour Racing Team’s Atlantic crossing, as they pass over the Newfoundland Grand Banks.

    This update coming to you from about 200 miles south of Newfoundland and 350 miles East of Halifax. I just watched the water temperature rise from 23.5c to 27c as we leave the incredible plateaus of the Newfoundland Grand Banks behind and return to deeper waters warm with Gulf Stream influence.













    It has been a big day. We first dropped our weather buoy at the far western edge of our suggested target area, hoping to give it as much runway in the East-moving currents as possible. It was fun imagining that this small piece of equipment will be floating around out here giving meaningful information for years to come. I’ll be checking in!


    Shortly after heaving it off the stern, conditions deteriorated. A sunny morning turned into a rainy, squally afternoon – common in this part of the Atlantic due to the rapid change in water temperatures between the deep Gulf Stream currents and the cold water shallows of Canada. This abrupt change in underwater landscape, a rather insanely complex labyrinth of canyons that rise from 4,000 meters under the surface to about 80 meters, is also what makes this patch of sea so alive with wildlife.





    Staring at the charts it makes sense. Warm, nutrient-rich Gulf Stream currents from the south run into a sheer wall and rise to the surface where birds, whales, fish and dolphins at the surface feast away. It reminded me of a boat model I had as a kid, a gift from my Grandparents, of the famous Bluenose. The Bluenose was a fishing boat out of Newfoundland that would have fished this waters for decades. Back then, fastest to the fish and more importantly, fastest back to the dock, won the biggest prize. So the Canadian fishing fleet became some of the fastest sailboats in the world and in a lot of ways, were the first fleets to embrace offshore racing! The Bluenose was famous for its speed, so I took a moment to imagine how far sailboats had come since the schooners of the 1920s, at about the same time we picked up a few boats on AIS over the horizon.

    Covid complications have had a positive tangible impact on this underwater ecosystem. The Grand Banks are big on Cod, Halibut and Swordfish, but lots of the fisheries are still closed. It is quiet out here… good news for the critically endangered North Atlantic Right whales who are frequently struck by ships, entangled in fishing nets, and impacted by noise and light pollution from the constant traffic. Good news for the fish stock, which is having a summer to rebound. Good news for the overall health of the sea. Obviously it is a tough time for the fishing industry but it is peaceful sailing through this stretch of ocean usually so full of activity and seeing so little. It feels more ‘balanced.’ At sundown the skies cleared as gannets and shearwaters surfed the waves. The last thing I saw before ducking down for dinner was a lone pilot whale bidding us farewell.






    From here we skirt the northern edge of the Gulf Stream down the coast, careful not to step too far into it’s 3-4 knot northerly push. Winds look light, which will make the 800 or so miles to Newport take a sluggish week to cover. All that being said, nobody seems to be in any hurry. There are no regattas to get to, nothing really “next” on the calendar. It has been ages since any of us have been away sailing and the general gist onboard is that life out here is really good. We are lucky to be doing what we all love to do. At a time like this, nobody is taking that for granted.

    Amo
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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