Tomorrow morning the fearsome challenge of The Transat bakerly will begin to reveal itself as the fleet head deeper into the North Atlantic. The IMOCA’s and Multi50’s are headed straight for the centre of the depression and will be faced with serious head winds and monstrous waves. The smaller Class 40’s have chosen to ride the top of the storm, avoiding the headwinds and allowing them to speed downwind, reducing the risk of potential damage and taking advantage of the system to carry them forward. Phil is expected to face a 6-12 hour storm of 7 metre waves, with winds expected at between 40-45 knots, gusting 50.
“I am pretty nervous about taking on this system. I will be riding the top of the depression, so I am in the best position possible, but it really is going to be alarmingly windy. I’m planning to reach the transition zone of low wind tomorrow, falling into the system on the east side to await the full brunt of the storm on Friday night through to Saturday. I haven’t lost sight of the fact that this is an endurance sport, I’ve just got to get through the storm and out the other side. Every Transat usually has at least one big storm, this is it.”
Just four days into the race there have been three retirements, an IMOCA, a Multi50, and a Class 40. Phil too has faced multiple other difficulties on board with a hole in his water system, various lashings failing on pulleys, and of course his halyard failure, which his engineering skills enable him to fix. A valuable knowledge asset few skippers have.