GRIB weather information proves frustrating for Sir R K-J

Yacht Saga Insurance
Friday 2nd March 2007
Lat 34 57S Long 047 40W
Miles To Norfolk, USA: 5,428 nm
Distance In 24 Hours: 150.2 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours: 5.25 knots
Ranking: 5th

“Difficult to type as the motion is very jerky. Bizarre weather. The grib files both gave NNW winds here Force 4. I tacked to head NE and found the best I could make was 080. I didn’t like that so tacked back and for yesterday afternoon was heading 330, roughly from where the gribs said the wind was coming from. That’s not all that had changed in the latest download, the stronger winds had moved further out so were going to be where I was so hopes of smoothe seas for faster sailing, which was one of the reasons I was where I was, went out of the window.”

“It was a better course than I expected though, but I really wanted to head NE now. The seas were short and steep, like the English Channel, or even worse the Thames estuary on an ebb tide and strong easterly winds, which always send me into Ramsgate. Despite ballasting the forward tank, SAGA pounded heavily and for the first time I found it impossible to lie on the navigation bench, my usual sleeping spot. I kept the speed down to avoid trouble so progress was slow and I think there must be an adverse current here as well, but best to live to race another day than sustain damage.”

“At 22:30 hours the wind backed 45 degrees so I tacked. I had not even finished tidying up when there was a huge flash of lightening and the thunderclap followed within a second, which means it was no more than 1,100 feet away, then the heavens opened and it poured, but it blew with it and veered. So I ended up on the other tack and the wind still slightly east of north, but the course had improved, I could now make 075 degrees so I held on to watch developments, sitting in my favourite spot, just inside the companionway as I can’t go on heading for Uruguay indefinitely on the basis of information that is suspect.”

“At this point I felt hungry but could not be bothered cooking so ate a whole Argentine salami, washed down with milk, with a wee dram in it. I don’t know what salami does for cholesterol, but it has plenty of calories, which is what I needed. “

“So we have gained nothing at all on this occasion by using the weather grib file information indeed we may have lost a great deal and those miles are going to be very very hard to regain. It is a lot warmer, so I am back in shorts, not that you would notice as the day was spent in oilskins. RKJ”