Friday, May 11, 2012

Dodging Icebergs in Thick Fog Near the Titanic

May 11, 2012 16:40:00 UTC
47°12.37 N
050°40.88 W
Heading: 46°
Speed: 20.4 knots
DTF: 1,784.9 nm

It is indeed an eerie feeling to be dodging icebergs in thick fog near where the Titanic sank about 100 years ago.  There is a distinct advantage we have with the new technology that exists. It is in the form of a very good B & G radar.  The fog is very dense and Maserati (our little carbon sailing rocket ship) seems highly unnatural in the vicinity of such difficult to detect chunks of hard water.  A growler the size of a refrigerator would definitely make for a bad day as we skim across the water doing 20 plus knots and unfortunately, the technology to see those is really not practical or readily available for our application.  We have roughly 150 nautical miles left of this nail biting experience but there was no way to avoid the need to play this game of Russian Roulette and keep our record attempt anything more than a delivery to England.

On that note, we are doing well and we are happy to be ahead of Mari Cha IV’s record time at the moment. However, it is very much in the balance and Mother Nature has our destiny in her hands.  The low we anticipated is no longer the key feature to our final push over the weekend, which was intended to launch us toward England for an arrival early next week. The weather models have changed significantly and now we must tangle with a high pressure area that will set up a large windless region very far north and along our route.  We are not only in a race with Mari Cha IV’s legacy but very much also in a race to see if we can position ourselves for the formation of the high pressure area.  A little luck and a kind eye from Mother Nature will be needed.

Ciao for now from a very frigid Maserati,

Brad and the Maserati boys

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Life On Board Maserati - Day 1

May 10, 2012 13:26:00 UTC
42° 24.60 N
061° 38.08 W
Heading: 67°
Speed: 19.8 Knots

We are chasing one of sailing’s most prestigious records and we are trying to beat a very fast pace set by Mari Cha IV.  Here is the current situation.  First, we have embraced a much different approach from a weather strategy point of view.  Mari Cha IV left New York behind a cold front on NW winds that carried them much of the way to England before they had to tack on a high pressure area for the last third of the attempt.  This meant they were on a fast port reach until tacking to starboard allowing the wind to free them back to a starboard reach for the final approach to England.  The opportunity that presented itself to us is the opposite.  We left New York ahead of an arriving cold front on Southerly winds that should carry us much of the way Across the Atlantic and then we will need to gybe to port and hook into a low pressure system to the north pushing us to the finish.  Both theories work well but we need the wind to stay steady and it has been a bit lighter than forecast for the several of hours of the voyage. 

The other point of significance is that we are doing our attempt in the spring instead of the fall which means spring icebergs south and east of Newfoundland.  I will talk more about icebergs in tomorrow’s blog as that will definitely be on the front of our brains for the following day.  Today is all about trying to stay in the best wind strength possible as the forecasted 22 knots has been elusive and we are currently in wonderful tight reaching conditions of 17 knots.  Normally lovely, but not the crazy record breaking conditions we need.  So our fingers are crossed for the big noisy show that Maserati is so gifted at.

Life on board is getting chilly and it is wet, but nothing like when we will sail through the North Atlantic cocktail in a couple days.  I can’t decide if that cocktail should be served with crushed or full size ice cubes but neither sounds very good to me at the moment, and I happen to know that a mixture is on order.

Ciao for now from Brad and the Maserati Boys!

Check out our tracking and Maserati route versus Mari Cha IV:
Here is the latest video we shot on board Maserati: