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The Weather Eye, July 10 – This Too Shall Pass, and Which Way Will the Cookie Crumble?

by David Sutcliffe, July 10th, 2018

This morning the fleet is in the grips of … almost no wind. 

The overall weather situation has developed in line with the outlook given in the previous The Weather Eye.  The two Highs have consolidated into one, the center of the combined High has drifted East, the Northerly Low has migrated North and out of the picture, and the Southerly "Low" (the Tropical Storm formerly known as Fabio) has become a remnant disturbance in the Trade Winds. 

So why oh why is there almost no wind? 

The fleet is now South of the center of the High, and the normal clockwise circulation around the High is still disturbed by the merging of systems.  The High is also quite a bit weaker at 1028mbar, compared to 1036-1038 a few days back.  That means there is less wind gradient, or pressure differential, which is what causes the wind in the first place.  Each of the racing class boats is making less than four knots as of this writing.   


July 10, 0800 PDT              Ouch! 


What’s next, and why doesn’t it matter, yet?

The big picture is that the High will strengthen again, the fleet will sail into the promised Trade Winds, and they will finally make the last multi-hundred mile dash to Mai Tais in Maui.  But, I bet that nobody on the boats cares a whit about that right now.  They’re probably wondering whether it is a brochure trick, a dastardly delusion, a siren song of the sea.  Sailors hate calms.  Passionately.  Calms corrode the very soul and fray the temper.  Given the choice between weathering a storm and slatting about in a calm, most would readily choose the storm! 

What will save the day? 

It’s possible that the remnant pressure in ex Fabio will actually be helpful in getting the boats moving quicker.  If so, boats could experience some larger than usual squalls with potential quite sporty localised conditions.  Building pressure and the Trade Winds will eventually make themselves felt, with favorable winds from ten through fifteen and possibly building to twenty knots.  It’s all going to happen soon! 



July 11, 0800 PDT              ex Fabio gives a wave?


Which way will the cookie crumble?

After sailing for nine days locked in fairly close division level combat, no boat has an assured finish result.  The whole thing still hangs in the balance.  There is hard work involved – some boat is going to claw their way through the calm.  There is skill involved - some boat is going to find the wind first.  And there is luck involved - the wind is going to find some boat first.  So, as it usually does, the cookie will crumble based on hard work, skill, and luck. 

The Weather Eye is going out on a limb and predicting that by this evening, Tuesday evening, the lead boats will be sailing on port gybe in 10-15 knots with spinnakers, and that by tomorrow morning, Wednesday morning, most if not all boats will be sailing in this refreshing breeze.  From there, it’s anyone’s race to Maui.  And they will be sailing in brochure conditions! 



July 12, 0800 PDT              Finally, Textbook Summer Weather in the Northeast Pacific Ocean!


One eye on the weather! 

Caveat:  this article and images are presented for informational purposes – they are not predictions of or advice to any boat regarding weather or routing! 

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