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North Atlantic Delivery II
Spared the Rod
07/24/2008, 46 44.4'N:24 50.0'W, 700 nm NW of Cap Finisterre, Spain SOG 8.5, COG 55

The low turned out to be a non-event - rain and wind in the 20s, some seas, but nowhere near a gale, at least in the quadrant I was in. I think a lot was going on in this part of the Atlantic over the last few days, so things changed, perhaps hourly. The exercise of getting ready for a gale was very useful, though actual experience is very much more so. No worries - that'll happen for certain, probably in the actual delivery - spend time on the ocean and a proper Singapore caning or an old-time Brooklyn beating is inevitable, surely visited upon the just and unjust alike.

And the day was not without some chastisement from the wind - out of the low, and into a low-rent junkyard. Screwed up little bits of wind, tons of leftover swell and chop, nothing to work with at all. Sails down again - boat pitching and rolling, obviously feeling as annoyed at the situation as I. Yet there was plenty of jobs to do as usual - I won't bore with the details, suffice to say it don't never end.

A pretty short stay in this junkyard, just a few hours (enough) as an orderly system filled in the from the northwest. I think the path back to Europe is getting clear, but I'm not going to overthink it. In retrospect, I eff'ed up the last few days from a weather tactics perspective pretty badly - sailed into the tarpit, and then into two junkyards, and missed the freight train I was trying to catch altogether. Had this been a race, my competitors would be beyond glee, they would be expressing sympathy - which is far worse. There's a lot to learn.

Low Road
07/24/2008, 46 10.3'N:25 31.2'W, 450 nm north of the Azores, SOG 7.5, COG 55

In the low now - usual stuff, much rain and wind. But nothing severe so far - we'll see.

07/23/2008, 44 41.4'N:26 40.7'W, 320 nm north of the Azores, SOG 6, COG 45

I seem to be sailing in a sort of wind junkyard - bits of wind that have been stripped off by collision or abandoned by the various lows and high surrounding here. Unlike the graduated vacumn of the tarpit or the freight train of the low that's still about to hit, the junkyard has some energy but no apparent order - it's been very shifty all day, pretty random it seems. I'm currently in 11 knots of southeast breeze, and southeast doesn't belong on any current make or model of the local systems. It must be the vector result of some accident at the edges.

Trying to build a strategy out of these used wind parts doesn't seem to be effective - I think MaxSea, my nav and weather program, is subtly joking when it forecasts the wind arrows in the screenshot above. I'm just aiming the boat at Ireland.

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