Ian Walker: Back on the race course, sheltering from a storm

Ian Walker: Back on the race course, sheltering from a storm

Monday March 19 2012 Author: Ian Walker ADOR Location: none selected

Thanks to a fantastic effort by our shore team we were able to leave the Viaduct with everything fixed four hours ahead of schedule. We can’t thank you all enough guys and girls for your work – a great team effort.

All we needed then was a break from the weather to get us back in the race – the other boats are only 200 miles away after all. Sadly we have exactly the opposite - we have the meteorological equivalent of a kick in the guts. Right now we are trapped in the windy section of the tropical low with storm force winds between us and the lighter winds to the East.

We need to exit the Colville Channel where the winds notoriously funnel along the Coromandel Range but the weather stations are reporting 50 knot average winds and gusts in the low 60s. This is more than enough wind to put our boat, sails and people in serious danger.

We are stuck in a real dilemma – do we take on the storm force winds when we have little to gain by doing so or shall we hold on and wait for the winds to abate thereby losing more miles and time to our competitors. To set off when we are already a day behind the fleet and risk putting ourselves out of the race would be foolish and yet to wait is the most frustrating thing on earth. We are trying to keep this entire leg in context and manage the risk appropriately.

We have decided to hold for a few hours in the lee of the islands of the Hauraki Gulf and monitor the weather stations as this tropical low is a very active and fast changing phenomenon. Hopefully we can resume racing and get on our way as soon as possible.

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