Why do massive squalls come at night?
Published on August 22nd, 2022
American Joe Harris along with Roger Junet are competing in the Globe40, a multi-leg doublehanded round the world race in Class40s. The second leg started July 17, taking the five-boat fleet along the 7000nm course from Cape Verde Islands to Mauritius. Here’s his update from GryphonSolo2 on August 22, 2022:
Here in the Indian Ocean, it is “game on”! Once we passed through the Agulhas Current we were truly in the Indian Ocean and turned NE towards our destination, the island of Mauritius. The distance was about 2,000 miles but we are now under 800 miles to go. The conditions have been mainly downwind, which is always nice, but yesterday the forecast was for a big gale lasting about 20 hours and the forecast did not disappoint.
There is always a bit of an ominous feeling onboard when a gale is approaching and I always look all over the boat to make sure everything can withstand the barrage of wind and sea. In this case, I opened the forward-most compartment which is behind a water-tight bulkhead to be sure no water had found its way in. I also checked the aft-most compartment where the rudders, steering gear, and auto-pilots are located. Luckily everything was dry and in good shape.
Roger and I went over the storm-management game plan which was to reduce sail to three reefs in the mainsail and the staysail (or J2 as the French call it) as the forecast was for steady winds over 30 knots and gusts to the mid-40s with 25-foot following seas.
We waited pensively through Saturday (August 20) and then Saturday night it hit with squalls, heavy rain, and lightning. We ran off with it and the boat was handling it well until the gusts over 40 knots hit. Luckily I was in the cockpit and could quickly ease the sheets and turn the boat further downhill.
This went on for about 12 hours with Roger and I taking our usual 3-hour watch turns. The howling wind and sheeting rain soaked us to the bone, and as it got chilly, lots of Irish Coffee (Liquid Courage) had to be consumed! The weather finally abated on Sunday morning and the squalls cleared and a clear, sunny, crisp day dawned but the high winds over 20 knots remained through the day.
Our remaining distance to Mauritius should take about four days if the wind from the SE doesn’t go light and forward – fingers crossed. So we are on Day 36 of this epically long leg 2 from Cabo Verde to Mauritius and have fully realized what a massive undertaking this Globe40 RTW race truly is.
We very much look forward to spending time with family and friends during the two week stopover and fully exploring the island of Mauritius while also tending to the lengthy “to-do” list for the boat that inevitably emerges from a 40-day passage around Cape of Good Hope. We are very ready for a “time out” but will remain busy!
The inaugural Globe40 is an eight leg round the world race for doublehanded Class40 teams. As all legs count toward the cumulative score, the longer distances more heavily weighted. The first leg, which took seven to eight days to complete, had a coefficient 1 while the second leg is ranked as a coefficient 3 leg. The race is expected to finish March 2023. Seven teams were ready to compete, but a Leg 1 start line collision eliminated The Globe En Solidaire with Eric and Léo Grosclaude (FRA) while the Moroccan team of Simon and Omar Bensenddik on IBN BATTOUTA retired before the Leg 2 start.
Tangier, Morocco – June 26
Leg 2 start: Sao Vincente, Cape Verde Islands – July 17
Leg 3 start: Port Louis, Mauritius
Leg 4 start: Auckland, New Zealand
Leg 5 start: Papeete, French Polynesia
Leg 6 start: Ushuaia, Argentina
Leg 7 start: Recife, Brazil
Leg 8 start: St Georges, Grenada