14 Dec, 05 – 20:42
Latitude: 25° 46′ N
Longitude: 23° 20′ W
Miles to Antigua: 2149
Miles in last 24 hours: 36
It’s chucking it down. If you’ve been envious of my blue skies and sunshine the last couple of weeks, take consolation in the fact that the weather here tonight is filthy – big waves, gusting winds and pouring rain. Dinner was a rather somber affair – a hasty ready meal gobbled down while I cowered in waterproofs in a corner of the cockpit – a sad contrast to last night’s glorious sunset and triumphant home-made (almost) prawn curry.
I’ll take the high road…
A few people have queried my choice of route across the Atlantic – a very valid question. Broadly, there was a choice between:
1. a Great Circle route – the shortest route in terms of miles, and so named because if you were to imagine a circle around the globe around its widest part (assuming for now that the earth is a sphere), intersecting the place you’re coming from and the place you’re going to, then your route would be a segment of this great circle…
2. Trade winds route – the traditional sailing route, which involves heading south ‘until the butter melts’ and then heading west across the ocean. This is a longer route – probably by about 400 miles – but seeks to take advantage of the usually reliable trade winds that blow from east to west across the mid-Atlantic.
Both options have their pros and cons. I was given advice by all and sundry – varying from a world-renowned cartographer to a drunken Irishman in the marina in La Gomera. Although I don’t get to see the Woodvale map of how the crews are progressing, I gather most of them seem to be going for the trade winds option, while I’m on the Great Circle route.
The ultimate reasoning behind my choice? A fairly arbitrary decision, really, loosely based on three reasons:
a) the trade winds apparently start further north than usual this year, owing to the Azores High also being further north
b) I’m lazy and fancied the shorter route
c) Sedna seemed to want to go this way.
Only time will tell whether my gamble has paid off… Which brings us back the thorny question of who exactly I am racing against. Just as I had made the decision to return to my original concept and row this my own way, happy in the knowledge that provided I get across I win the solo female class, I found out today that I’ve gained some ground on the back of the race fleet and could be back in contention.
We shall see. But racing or not racing, the priority remains to get across safely and enjoyably.
Wind: 15 kts
Weather: overcast and squally
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 11