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ARC Europe - Halfway to Bermuda

by World Cruising on 11 May 2017
Oracle Team USA - Practice Session 3 World Cruising Club
The fleet is around the halfway mark to Bermuda and has been having some great sailing conditions in the SE trade winds for the first couple of days since leaving the BVI. After a cracking start in the Drake Channel boats navigated their way through the islands and into clear water heading due north 845NM to Bermuda. Some of the boats have been blogging about the night sailing, which is often one of those unforeseen joys of an ocean crossing.

Night watches, given the right conditions, are something that become enjoyed and maybe even looked forward to. It's never easy being stirred from your bunk for your few hours at the helm, but to be rewarded with silently slipping over the waves under a full moon chasing that silver path to the horizon is well worth it. Depending as well on the watch schedule, and number of crew onboard, you may have time for a lot of thinking to yourself or chance to really chat and get to know your watch partner(s).

Now though the fleet are entering the horse latitudes and an area of calm winds that would be dreaded by the ships and crews of old due to the undependable winds and long periods of calm. There are several theories as to why this area is so named, maybe its being 'horsed' to the ocean currents and benefiting from a free ride, or maybe it's the horses that were onboard were drinking the much needed water for the men and so were thrown overboard when ill/dying. Either way in technical terms it is the band of subtropical high pressure between the 30'-38' North latitudes (or South) which suppresses precipitation and cloud formation, and has calm winds.

Solution, put the donkey on! As much as we all love sailing we also love the engine, which comes in handy for those times when the novelty of bobbing around in flat calm waters has worn off. For Jura, the Nordhavn 57 and only powerboat in the fleet, the calm conditions are probably more of a benefit, but for the others they will certainly be checking their range and monitoring fuel consumption until the winds kick back in. Good news for everyone is that the ARC rally has organised a duty free refuelling day in Bermuda to top everyone off ready for the next leg and help save just over $2 per gallon.

You may have heard that the Americas Cup is being held in Bermuda, although the competition does not start until May 29th and run through June, there is time during the stopover to head to the Race Village and hopefully see some of the teams in action. Rally Control managed to do exactly that today and saw the French, Americans and Japanese teams blasting around the Sound between Hamilton and the Naval Dockyard.

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