LAT 04 18.0N
LONG 150 26.4E
ETA Batam Is Indonesia 0600 25 Jan 2012
COG 330 SOG 10
WEATHER Wind 120@8kts, Sea Confused 1/2m, Swell confused 1/2m, Cloud 4/8 Cl, Cb, St, Ci, Baro 1005.2 dropping
For the people following Race 7 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race that want a better idea of the conditions of
sailing through the Pacific near the ITCZ this time of year I recommend switching off the yacht tracker and turning on your
Nintendo to play SuperMario outside in the rain (WARNING – BEWARE OF ELECTRICAL SHOCKS IF YOU DO TRY THIS AT HOME).
Just like in SuperMario we are bounding along singing a merry tune whilst trying to avoid the evil squall clouds. If we
sneak past the squall clouds we receive bonus points in the form of wind and good milage in the right direction. If the
evil squall clouds manage to catch us then we are frozen in the game. The first thing that happens when hit by a evil
squall cloud is that we are hit by 25kts of wind, then it starts to rain, then the wind drops out all together and we are left as “frozen Super Mario” as the game time continues to run.
As we proceed further to the north the conditions are getting better and the wind more constant and of a greater velocity.
Our hope is to sail further north than the other Australian yacht Geraldton who is currently ahead of us, and get better
winds so we can average more speed and better VMG to our next waypoint of Marore Island (04 50N 125 29E).
Squalls have an amazing effect on wind direction of up to 100 degrees for up to half an hour before they arrive and up to an
hour after they pass. Upper level wind that is getting sucked into the ITCZ rockets down unaffected by Coriolis swinging
the wind to the north requiring us to change our course and drop the spinnaker. I have been trying to analyse a pattern for
the squalls as one would think that they should occur in the afternoon like they are supposed to, yet some afternoons there
are no squalls at all and the squalls have been experienced in the middle of the night instead. Hopefully the further north
we go the less we will see of these squalls and the more steady the wind will become.
Today we noticed some loose stitching on our Medium Weight Spinnaker from a recent repair and on further investigation found
an half of a new panel not sewen in correctly and missing re-enforcements in the clew. This is a bit of a let down and
consequently we now have 2 people from each watch re-sewing the spinnaker by hand and re-enforcing with tape and more
stitching. It is very lucky we found this out early as otherwise the entire spinnaker may have been once again torn in two
peices resulting in a far more labours repair. As the majority of this race is down wind in moderate wind strength the
medium weight spinnaker is our main work horse and our biggest and most used sail. It would be a disaster to loose it and
hence it is well worth being without it for a couple of days while we correct the repairs rather than loosing it for the rest of the race.
After a big squall at midday and after 3 hours of sails flapping and trying to sail at any angle possible to get some
movement the wind has finally begun to rebuild and we are making progress again. In this race it is becoming very apparent
that there is no certainty as to where to find the wind as the squalls are quite random in their location. All we can do is
hope that we get more wind than the other yachts in the fleet to advance our progress. There is no doubt however that the
further north we go the better the wind will become, and given our position as the most northerly yacht in the fleet we stand a good chance of our tactics paying off.
Yacht tracker viewed at http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com