Looking For Answers At Madeira

November 12, 2021

Sailing

Having passed about 35 miles east of Madeira earlier this morning, the Leyton OceanFifty duo Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chapellier are in fifth place in their class and finding that trying to second guess what the awkward, unsettled and unpredictable wind conditions are going to do in the next few minutes is not helping in making strategic decisions for the longer term.
Normally they should be making ‘motorway miles’ south in the tradewinds, but it has been another stressful night.

Sam Goodchild

“It has been a night full of difficult decision making and probably a bit stressful. And the weather conditions are always changing which does not help. We have not had the same wind for more than minute at a time, it seems, we carry on and we gybe. And you are worrying if we made the right choice. We had a big choice what to do with Madeira, whether to go in a bit, to go straight on like we have done and we spent a lot of time talking about that. Everyone else has gone for Madeira which sees us with a bit of a split with the others which was not what we really wanted but we will deal with it. And we have wind which is not at all as forecast. We are going slower than we are meant to be (as per the forecast) and we are not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t know. How long with this last? I don’t know…There is a lot of ‘I don’t knows’ at the moment.
Compared with the other Transat Jacques Vabre races I have done on the IMOCA and Class 40s it is easier as we have not had  big weather to start with, but it has been a lot more difficult. There has been nothing normal about the weather on this Transat. There are no real trade winds in place, there is no going towards the high pressure and gybing. Yesterday we found ourselves one mile away from Thibault (ed note: Vauchel-Camus, rival on Solidaires en Peloton) but in completely different winds but we were losing miles and we gybed. It is all very weird conditions with very little visual change to judge from.
We are going south with these very unstable trade winds. But we currently have a wind direction which is 50 degrees different to what it should be. That is odd. And we have less wind than we should have. Also odd.
It is not sunny yet. The whole of yesterday was thick cloud cover. The sun is just coming up and though there are few more breaks in the clouds this morning, we are also under a rain cloud. But we are definitely wearing shorts and T-shirts now, we are not very warm yet, but it is shoes now and not boots and so that has to be good! I guess we can’t complain compared to what it is like at home in November. But it would be nice if this weather situation was just a little less stressful….”

Race update

Track the race live HERE

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