LAT 00 19.5S
LONG 153 16.5E
ETA 0600z 24 Jan 2012
COG 330, SOG 4
WEATHER WIND firstname.lastname@example.org Sea Calm, Swell N1/2m, Cloud Cb, Cl, St, Ci and rather chaotic, Baro 1004.5
As we sail Gold Coast Australia through the last stretch of the doldrums and try to make it over the equator to the NE
trades we are plagued with overcast skies and squalls. Some of the squalls benefit us, some suck away all the wind leaving
behind a spell of calm. I am very tired as every time I go to get my head down I give the crew a course and True Wind Angle
to steer, and every time I manage to drift off to sleep the wind changes and i clamber back into my wet weather gear and up
on deck to resolve a new course of action to try to get us moving in the right direction again. If I had been counting the
hours ive slept in the last 48 hours I think it would probably able to count on one hand. Everybody is tired in fact, and
consequently concentration spans on the helm and trim lapse frequently resulting in poor performance. Whilst it is a
leaders and managers role to understand that people are tired, inspiration is also required to keep people focused, or at
times, a bit of a “WAKE UP” call is needed to remind people that if they don’t concentrate now we will be stuck in this weather for the next week!
Geraldton is still close by, and while we occasionally manage to loose them behind, a few hours later they are back on top
of us. This morning we would have been a good 10nm ahead and to windward of them and I thought that we finally had them,
then only a few hours later the wind vanishes and Geraldton sail right around us. It seems luck has been in their court more
than ours and they deserve it as they are obviously pushing themselves very hard and have a great desire to beat us. It
useless blaming the performance on the luck the other yacht is having as it wont solve any problems, we must continue to
stay focused to reach our goal. I am thoroughly enjoying our little tussle with Geraldton and it is great to see their sail
in the distance during the day and their mast head lights at night. It is defiantly fantastic to have the two Aussie boats in leading the race by a good margin.
Every four to six hours the weather seems to randomly follow the same pattern. Every four hours the wind will box the
compass, and every four to six hours we have at least four Yankee/Windseeker changes, six staysail changes, and one
spinnaker hoist. Each of the sail combinations last about half an hour, then the wind will completely change direction or
drop out all together and we are forced to change our game plan. When sails are lowered they are unhanked, flaked and
placed below deck. Spinnakers go down below deck sodden in rain and we leave them drying below before re-wooling them in
preparation for a new hoist. Consequently down below resembles a sauna and bilges are pumped dry every watch.
Thankfully today it has been extremely cloudy (though if there was not cloud it we would probably have the trades we desire
so badly). The clouds are chaotic and if you saw clouds like them in the southern ocean or Bass Straight you would no doubt
drop all sails hoist a tri-sail and sit and wait to be plumaged. Instead up here all they do is suck the wind away and send
it skyward. There are Cb clouds rising to probably 10,000 feet, rolling cigar shaped StCl clouds so black that look like
southerly busters, standard cl clouds, cats paws, lambs tails, every cloud you could possibly imagine and they are moving as
fast as a snail, signalling very little upper level divergence hence the air moves up up and away.
As we near the equator preparations are already in place to welcome King Neptune, but I believe I spoke about this last
blog however everybody is very excited. Who knows what he could possibly have install for our periwinkels? Hopefully once
they have paid their pennants we can have our wind back and sail on into the trades.
This afternoon I have just woken up and managed to get 3 hours sleep in a row and I feel like ive been sleeping for the past
week. Wow what a difference that has made. Though I awoke to find us flop flop flopping about in only 4kts of wind from the
south west (looking at GRIB wind should be 8kts from east) we have made reasonable ground and now at 20 degrees south and
not very far off crossing the bump. Unfortunately as we are currently sailing 330*T @ 3kts and the last known course and
speed from Geraldton flashing on the AIS screen is 310*T @ 8kts. I am hoping they maintain their 310@T course as this will
result on us making more ground to the north over time and therefore into stronger trades. Either way its a very exciting race I just wish they would stop overtaking us!