by Joe Harris
In the 2013 Atlantic Cup, it was a wild night in the Gulf Stream last night as GryphonSolo2 experienced high winds, lightning, squalls with heavy rain and generally trying conditions. Our strategy was to get out to the Gulf Stream quickly and take the longest ride possible to Cape Hatteras, which is about 270miles from Charleston.
However, when we arrived at the waypoint location where we expected the Gulf Stream to be, the favorable current was not there, so we had to go quite a bit further east to find the favorable northerly flow. The wind was out of the southwest, giving us a favorable downwind angle, and we were smoking along at between 13 and 18 knots.
However, in the wee hours of the morning, a major squall hit us and we had to take down our A6 heavy air fractional kite in about 30 knots of wind, which was difficult. We then were hit by another squall packing driving rain and gusts up to 40 knots so we had to run off under full main and solent jib to the east.
When we finally got through the squalls and tacked back towards Hatteras, the wind shifted from southwest to west earlier than the GRIB weather files had predicted, and it became evident we had gone too far east, as the morning position reports showed us behind the boats who had stayed further west. So, it looks like we have a bit of catching up to do... but there is plenty of runway left... so we are drying out and licking our wounds from last night and intend to get back in the hunt shortly.
Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there and particularly my mom Katrina and my wife Kim- and also happy birthday to Kim, who is turning 29 again!
Atlantic Cup website