Mike Sanderson chats about tactics through the stationary front on approach to Baltimore 15/4/06

Date of report14 April 2006 at 2124

It’s been an interesting 24 hours of sailing, the crossing of this massive stationary front was always going to be a major feature of the last 1,000 miles of the leg, it went pretty nicely for us and movistar with us putting some good distances between the two of us and the rest of the pack.

Between us it was about even, firstly we were losing for over a day as we approached the lighter airs, then we hooked onto a new breeze and found ourselves un-expectantly running in up to 27 knots of wind cool, we gained 18 miles on movistar in that sched, then we started to sail out of the breeze, however, got the wind shift we were hoping for and gybed.

Movistar must have then been in geographically the same bit of water and hooked into the same breeze as us, then in the next sched, she had taken exactly the same distance back out of us…. weird.

Then we sailed into the new building easterly and in the last two position reports have gained around 18 miles back in total, most of that will be the fact that we led her back in to the new breeze, some of it though will be that this is reaching in breeze which is Black Betty’s strongest condition, the next position report will be interesting to see if the guys behind movistar have escaped its clutches yet, from some of our routing experiments it looked like they were going to have some grief with it yet.

While there still hasn’t been a whole lot of wildlife still to report on, one natural feature which has been amazing over the last 24 hrs has been the power of the weather, to see the images from the satellite and then to see first hand the cloud formations that were in this front and how they could change the conditions so quickly was truly amazing, and then there was the rain… man could it bucket down in some of the clouds, I would hate to think how many millimetres of rain would have fallen in one half hour period, but the drops were so big they almost hurt, I always think that it rains a lot in New Zealand, but it never rains like it did out
here yesterday in some of the squalls.

Right now we have 818 miles to go to the finish line, of which the last 100 are up the Chesapeake Bay, we still have a few good obstacles between here and the finish, firstly starting in the early hours of Saturday morning with a ridge of high pressure where it will get all the way down to 4 knots of wind, then on Sunday we will have 27 knots of breeze at times when we are crossing the Gulf Stream, then the final hurdle will in fact be trying to get up the Chesapeake with the light airs that are forecasted, so plenty to play for yet, and those are the ones we know about!

Talk tomorrow, and from all of us out here on ABN AMRO 1.. Happy Easter


Mike Sanderson – skipper ABN AMRO One