David Scully, watch captain aboard Steve Fossett's 125ft super-cat Cheyenne, files what could be his final yachtingworld.com report before the start of the Jules Verne Challenge
The forecast is not the best. We will have good wind to the Canaries, and then the progs show light air conditions for a day or so before the trades return. As of noon today, we are looking at a nine-day trip to the equator. This is two and a half days longer than the top time, set by Enza. Is it good enough to go on?
As Joseph Stalin used to say, “Happiness is the ideal combination of expectation and reality.” If this picture is not the one we want, we will have to wait until 5 February for the next one. Will we find happiness up against the sill of the forecasting window, or is it reality that we could wait a long time for the perfect pattern?
At this point a departure tomorrow is more of a roll of the dice than we are comfortable with. Steve Fossett, is however, an expert dice roller, and the final decision awaits his arrival late tonight. The rest of us study the latest weather models with the care of veteran punters examining the racing form.
Opportunity is a finite commodity. Six months of hard work, almost a million dollars in preparation expense, and the chance to make sailing history are the stakes on the table tonight. No general ever pored over the plan of battle, no businessman ever agonised over a deal, no alpinist ever contemplated a crag, with more doubt and care than we consider the fried egg patterns of the planet’s air pressure differences. If we do let slip the docklines tomorrow evening, the chances of success are, for the moment, prejudiced against us, If we do not leave, the chances may get worse. One thing is for sure. If we do go, we will have to wait for 60 days or so to find out if we have made the right decision.