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26 March 2010

Horse Latitudes

It's been a busy 24hrs on the good ship Wild Tigris since last night's weather download. At about 1800 yesterday, we received the World ARC's weather forecast (custom made by a US meteorologist for the WARC Fleet) and were informed of weakening trade-winds, especially in the latitudes below 8-9 degrees. Murphy's Law of round-the-world sailing... we were right bang in the middle of 8 and 9 degrees!

We quickly downloaded another weather file, a second opinion if you like, and our worst fears and bad luck were confirmed. Good-bye Champagne sailing, hello Doldrums.

Back in the good old days of Colonial exploration, these vast areas of light winds were known as the Horse Latitudes. The reason being, ships would squeeze as many horses on as possible to ease transport and facilitate the conquering of new lands with previously unseen cavalry. The problem was when they hit light wind, the horses drank all the water, leaving none for the crew. Solution: throw the horses overboard, hence the name, Horse Latitudes.

Call me parnoid but I think a similar thing is brewing on Wild Tigris. Replace Horses with 'Sean', water with 'Beer' and crew with 'Joel' and you get all the ingredients of mutiny!

Anyway, back to our busy 24hrs. Accepting our fate, we cut our losses and gybed onto a new heading WNW at 1830 yesterday. This served us well through a calm night but clocked more during this morning, driving our heading N and constantly decreasing in strength. With windspeed rarely over 10kts, we took the opportunity to try out our Asymetric MPS which helped boatspeed noticeably but unfortunately didn't do much to bring us back down to course.

We tried our best to ignore the depressing NW heading, banking 60Nm to the north where we expect better breeze to fill in tomorrow. Just before sunset, we dropped the kite, gybed back onto port and a much better angle and here we are... ghosting along at 6kts on a very much 'Pacified' Ocean.


8 deg 36 S 130 deg 37 W 2200 LT