Adrian Flanagans Thoughts on the difficult start - Boating Forum

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Adrian Flanagans Thoughts on the difficult start

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  • Adrian Flanagans Thoughts on the difficult start

    At almost exactly this time last year, I set out on the Alpha Global expedition to be met with ferocious storms in the western approaches to the English Channel. With wind speeds nearing hurricane strength and mountainous seas building as the Atlantic slammed into Biscay and crammed into the narrow confines of the Channel, sleep was not an option and the busy shipping lanes posed additional navigational difficulties.
    The start of the Velux 5 Oceans race has been hit with similar, unseasonal conditions and I feel for Sir Robin-Knox Johnston, Mike Golding and the other two competitors whose boats have sustained damage.
    Returning to port is never an easy option particularly at the start of a long ocean passage.

    Unable to make any sensible progress and in dire need of rest, I sought shelter in the Helford River to wait out the worst of the storm fronts.
    Although Barrabas did not sustain damage and her rugged build and heavy displacement provided a solid platform, I did not have the kind of boat speed which is often the best defence in heavy weather. The boats in the Velux 5 Oceans fleet are built for speed and the skippers will use this advantage to defend themselves and their craft. The downside is that structural strength is inevitably compromised to a degree in the interest of speed so the boats will be that much more vulnerable to wave strikes.

    Man can never face down the sea and the combined wrath of the elements - judicious withdrawal is sometimes the best and only tactic no matter how unpalatable. The Velux 5 Oceans race skippers will have to regroup, but the prospect of fine and fast sailing through the trade winds will provide some compensation.

    Conditions during that first week of the Alpha Global Expedition were among the worst I faced during the 26,000 miles I sailed via Cape Horn to Alaska. I wager that come May and with the race behind them, Sir Robin, Mike and the others will be saying pretty much the same thing.

    Category: Yacht Regattas
    Publish Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2006 08:10:28 +0000

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