Skipper's Logs Archive: Charleston to Bermuda 2007


The Light Air Blues
May 21, 2007

Good morning all, and welcome to the "light air blues".

It is just before dawn on Monday and we are in the mid Atlantic parking garage! The wind hole we were trying to outrun has caught us. I guess you could say that that door shut..... bugger!

Yesterday we had northerly's of 5-10kts which is just under Gryphon Solo's power band. We made steady progress east, knowing that the next 24hrs would be pretty important.

Unfortunately, the last 15 hrs have been rather frustrating, starting with unexpected adverse current of up to 2 kts for the past six hours. The breeze started dyeing around sunset and we have been working the boat hard all night to achieve 1-2 kts of speed. In light air you actually work a lot harder for a lot less, adjusting controls constantly for minute changes in the wind- very frustrating, but necessary. So, as we do everything we can to get through the dead zone and into the new breeze i have cast a few nervous glances over to the western horizon. I think the boats to the north have had a better last 24 than us.

A Note from Joe Harris:
It does appear that the rest of the fleet to the North and West did have better winds last night, as evidenced by boat speeds of 7 to 8 knots versus GS at 3 knots, and the fleet has made up a bit of ground on GS. The Red Rocket needs wind above 8 knots to really get going and utilize her "weapons" i.e. her canting keel, daggerboards and water ballast. In very light air, these weapons "stay in the holster" and the wide beam and large wetted surface of the boat make her a bit sticky trying to go upwind in very light air. We usually cant the keel to leeward by 15' in light conditions to tip the boat over and reduced wetted surface and drag and hopefully the new Code Zero sail is making the best of what little wind there is. The forecast looks like stronger winds today so hopefully GS is not much more than a day out of Bermuda.


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