Tyco Leads; illbruck Bails
November 12 - Cape Town, South Africa
Under a clear blue sky and brilliant sun with twenty knots of wind, the grueling Southern Ocean Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race began at 1100 GMT on Sunday.
After several minutes of jockeying for position at the pin end of the line the eight starboard tacked Volvo Open 60s, led by Knut Frostad's Davidson-designed djuice, crossed the Cape Town start line bound for Sydney, Australia.
Then, last night, the immaculately-prepared illbruck's best laid plans went badly awry, as skipper John Kostecki reports, "The fleet was all in sight as we all were heading south past the Cape of Good Hope. We were changing to our smaller heavy air jib as the wind built to 30-35 knots.
"Then, all of sudden, we noticed that the boat was not going very well and felt sluggish. The bow seemed to be lower than normal and started taking waves more frequently. Rosco [Ross Halcrow] went to check the bow hatch, to see if we had a water problem. He came back on deck with a fright. He could not open the hatch because of the amount of water in the forward tank ahead of the watertight bulkhead.
"The boat got slower and slower and then we could not keep her going anymore. We went into irons as we were trying to figure out why the bow was sinking so fast. We eventually found out an inspection port on the bow just behind the headstay came off somehow. The entire forward tank was full of water and we had to stop racing.
"We dropped the jib, moved all of our gear below and above deck as far aft as possible to stop the bow from sinking further. After trying several different modes of sailing we eventually found that backing down was the best way to keep the bow area out of the waves. We started the emergency pump and start getting the water out and bailed with buckets from on deck. It took nearly two hours to control the situation before we could start racing again. This all took place at night in 30-35 knots as our competitors sailed away." illbruck gave up 20 miles to the leaders.
Strong easterly winds generated around the south of a low pressure system positioned just east of Cape Town made for difficult conditions overnight, severely testing crews readjusting to life at sea.
Rough seas are generated with only moderate winds in the area of the Agulhas Cap, which is the confluence of three ocean currents (the Agulhas, Benguela and Southern Ocean Current). Add 35-knot headwinds and the seas become very tricky to negotiate. The good news is that the winds have already moderated today, the leader Tyco reporting winds of 12 knots. The forecast is for "light and shifty."
America's Cup tactician Terry Hutchinson is making a big impact onboard djuice, which is presently in second place, sailing within sight of Tyco, as they head southeast.
The start off Cape Town on Sunday
Neal McDonald begins his skipper
duties aboard Assa Abloy
illbruck (foreground) at the start
Present leader, Tyco
Photos Rick Tomlinson, except Assa Abloy Thierry Martinez
November 12 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace
Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? Check out YOTREPS - 'yacht reports' - at http://www.bitwrangler.com/yotreps/
November 12 - Pacific Ocean
San Francisco Bay Weather: WET!
To see what the winds are like on the Bay and just outside the Gate right now, check out http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/wind/.
California Coast Weather
Looking for current as well as recent wind and sea readings from 17 buoys and stations between Pt. Arena and the Mexican border? Here's the place - which has further links to weather buoys and stations all over the U.S.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/stuff/southwest/swstmap.shtml.
Pacific Winds and Pressure
The University of Hawaii Dept. of Meteorology page posts a daily map of the NE Pacific Ocean barometric pressure and winds.
Pacific Sea State
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