Not your normal ARC.
Wed 22 Nov 2017 22:02
So it is becoming clear that this is not going to be a normal ARC. The trade winds that normally blow towards the west in this part of the world are nowhere to be seen, and what can be found are very weak and a long way to the south of the route required to get to St.Lucia. Instead, our path is blocked by a series of low pressures, which you traditionaly find further north at this time of the year. Sitting at home, it is often hard to detect the onset of a low pressure, but at sea the signs are very obvious. First of all, you see an increase in the height of the swell, together with the arrival of cirrus - a high latitude whispy cloud. It signifies that wind is to come, normally within 100 miles or so.
Warm and cold fronts normally hang off a low pressure system, bringing with them an increase in wind and a change in its direction. In the northern hemisphere, the wind rotates clockwise as the low approaches, called veering. The difference from the beginning of a low to the end can deliver a difference in wind direction of up to 180 degrees, making it very easy to detect the position of the low and your proximity to the associated fronts.
The fronts themselves bring rain, and sometimes rather a lot! After the cold front passes, the resultant Polar Maritime air usually contains dense rain clouds, behind which there can be very little wind at all. We certainly found some last night!
We knew that a crucial part of this week was going to involve positioning ourselves for a low that was forming, We got through it last night with the usual meteorological behaviour mentioned above, to see another one forming between us and St. Lucia! This was not what we signed up for, but ensuring that “Knotty Girl” is in the right place when it arrives is something we are getting very good at!
In other news, Olivier’s helming is getting better, Jean-Lucs snoring is getting less, and we’ve had the spinnaker up twice today!. We seem to still be in first place too. However, there has been sadly no sign of any suicidal fish today, despite a number of fervent efforts by yours truly.