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Old 25-01-2010, 00:13   #346
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In any case I'm sure her obviously very competent shore crew have thought all this through will be advising her. It does sound as though this last storm caught everyone by surprise in its ferocity.

Yes she may have to be more conservative next time. I wonder if she has practised heaving to, which from the Storm Tactics Handbook (Google books) could be just the ticket if done well. The windward slick left by the keel flattens the seas out for 30m or so upstream, plus the boat really stabilises down.
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Old 25-01-2010, 01:31   #347
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OK so far one one or two posts (post JW current storm) have mentioned heaving to and they had no response to this technique. Why is that, it would seem (to me) to be a useful techique in these conditions.

I don't have experience in these seas or conditions but it surprises me that JW did not apparently take any real defence other than ride it out below with autopilot engaged. However, I may be wrong as we don't know what sails were set, what was reefed etc. We do know that she had ample warning of heavy weather even if it was more severe than forecast.

Has she been practising her heavy weather defences in lighter weather (30+ kts) and again in 40+ kts?
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Old 25-01-2010, 02:53   #348
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However, I may be wrong as we don't know what sails were set, what was reefed etc.
She says in her blog that she was sailing under the tiny storm jib alone. Everything else will have been dropped and stowed / lashed.

As for heaving to, that's a fair point, and maybe we'll get the full story when things are a little calmer. Looking at the current conditions I expect she's focussed on getting north away from the systems brewing down there right now.

It sounds like she was mainly running ok with the seas, aside from the knockdowns (yes I know that's a very big "aside from"!) but if she thought those were from rogue waves then there would seem to be little sense in heaving to - better to keep running and making her way out of danger. If it turns out the theories above are correct and she was actually getting turned on breaking waves, then that's a lesson she will learn for next time.

I'm not sure why people are beating her up about using the autopilot. It seems to have been doing the job, we all (mostly) agree she was better off down below, she has backup self steering systems, she was strapped in close to the nav station, and if the autopilot had been failing she would have taken the next appropriate course of action...
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Old 25-01-2010, 03:08   #349
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If she loses the rig in the next knockdown she can always crack out the oars and make her way home doing what this guy is doing. Just goes to show we're an "adventurous" (read "crazy") lot down in this part of the world...

Tasman Trespasser Shaun Quincey Solo Row from Australia to New Zealand – 2010
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Old 25-01-2010, 03:12   #350
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I saw on the new today another 16 year old girl is off to break the record for youngest around the world....

washingtonpost.com

Isn't Jessica 16?

So Abby Sunderland wouldn't be taking Jessica's record , right?

I am a BIG Jessica fan, I've been following her blog and think she is just amazing. It would just be a shame if her record is so short lived.
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Old 25-01-2010, 03:18   #351
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Hi babykinz,

Yes, there's another thread about Abby's attempt here:

Abby Sunderland - SoloRound

If you mention the "R" word around this forum you're likely to get hit by a slew of people crying "record? what record?? the authorities don't recognise these age records any more!" (just look back through this thread ), but if both Jessica and Abby complete their circumnavigations to schedule, then Abby will be younger than Jessica when she finishes (Abby is 5 months younger and in a faster boat). That's a big "if" though... Jessica is only halfway around (100 days today) and Abby is only a couple of days out of port so they both have a lot of challenges ahead of them.
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Old 25-01-2010, 03:21   #352
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I'm not sure why people are beating her up about using the autopilot. It seems to have been doing the job, we all (mostly) agree she was better off down below, she has backup self steering systems, she was strapped in close to the nav station, and if the autopilot had been failing she would have taken the next appropriate course of action...
Mate, Ive worked why, they are all armchair admirals. They would have strapped themselves to the tiller fought the storm, from the yacht club bar stool.
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Old 25-01-2010, 03:27   #353
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Mate, Ive worked why, they are all armchair admirals. They would have strapped themselves to the tiller fought the storm, from the yacht club bar stool.
I probably shouldn't admit it (I'm trying really hard to play the straight hand here), but that really cracked me up...
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Old 25-01-2010, 03:37   #354
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"Jessica has now passed the halfway mark in her attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. She has now been sailing for 100 days and is approximately 1,500 nautical miles ahead of where we thought she'd be at this stage of her voyage.

Whilst Jessica still has another 11,000 nautical miles to cover, her parents Roger and Julie and all of her shore team are delighted to know she's officially homeward bound."

I don't know about you guys, but I think this news posting from the shore crew means she is at long W 30, that would put her 180 deg opposite Sydney. It also puts her nearly 400 NM ahead of her public position.
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Old 25-01-2010, 03:43   #355
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No, she won't be near W30 yet. The track from W30 back to Sydney is significantly shorter than her track from Sydney to W30 - she's been up to the equator and back on the way. She's halfway in nautical miles travelled, not in terms of lines of longitude crossed.
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Old 25-01-2010, 04:19   #356
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Back to the subject of the knockdowns...

Two theories have been advanced. Jessica's take was that "rogue waves" hit her boat on the beam, resulting in the knockdowns and the 180 roll. At least one poster suggested the knockdowns could have been caused by breaking following waves forcing the boat into a broach, which resulted in the knockdowns. How likely is the "rogue wave" theory, and how would Jessica's storm tactics handle each circumstance?

If you study the wind patterns as a Southern Ocean storm passes a given lat/lon (try passageweather.com), you'll see that as a storm approaches, the winds begin to build out of the northwest, then back to the west while strengthening further, and then continue backing to the southwest as the storm passes by and the winds ease. That wind pattern could indeed produce two or more sets of big swells in which the waves cross each other at 90 degrees. I've experienced it in less trying circumstances (Force 9, 7-8 meter swells) in the SW North Atlantic, where we'd have a big wave attack the boat from the beam and try to board us, coming maybe every hour or so. I don't think these would really be considered true "rogue waves", but they're real enough, and feel like you've been hit by a Mack truck.

So, if it was big waves on the beam that knocked her down, I don't think that there's really anything else she could have done to prepare. There's no way to steer your way around one of those--they just sort of appear out of nowhere. Setting the auto and strapping in below was a good choice.

However, if the knockdowns were caused by broaching in breaking following seas, streaming a series drogue could have helped the autopilot keep the stern aligned and prevented the broaching. Hand steering in the cockpit with no drogue could have worked, too, but as someone noted, it's a very risky position to be in.

I think it might have been difficult for Jessica to tell exactly what caused the knockdowns from her position down below. It would be hard to sort out the relative motions of the two amidst the sudden violence of the event.

Regarding the question about heaving to, I really don't think that's a great tactic in 65+ knot winds and large, breaking seas. With the minimal canvas you'd be carrying, you'd effectively be lying ahull, and inviting a knockdown or roll. If you want a time out in those conditions, I'd say deploy the drogue.

Bottom line, I can't fault Jessica's decision. And I'm very impressed with her spirit and resilliance.
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Old 25-01-2010, 04:59   #357
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Bottom line, I can't fault Jessica's decision. And I'm very impressed with her spirit and resilliance.
Hear hear, as is the rest of the population. She was getting 400,000 hits per day on her blog after only a week at sea, can't imagine what she is getting now!
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Old 25-01-2010, 05:05   #358
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Here's a cool video showing what happens when wave patterns interfere with each other.



And if you want an explanation of this in terms of Quantum Wave Theory here's the simplist explanation I could find.

Quantum Physics: Quantum Theory / Wave Mechanics
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Old 25-01-2010, 05:11   #359
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I have followed and commented on JWs blog from the beginning of the RTW trip. In her blog, she mentions that during the storm, the electric autopilot was being used. If you read through and follow her blogs, she is very good at steering this autopilot using her handheld "commander" which also has wind info displayed on it. She probably was not that passive down below, but making course corrections. When she went up the mast while under sail to prepare for the southern ocean while under sail earlier in the voyage, the wind shifted and the sails went out of trim. She used the remote at that point while at the top of the mast to steer the boat to get the sails to set to the new wind direction.

She is very adamant in her blogs that she writes her own blogs!

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Old 25-01-2010, 07:10   #360
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What I don't know is how feasible it would have been to get out there and launch it once things started getting really rough...
That is why I didn't say she should have done it. It isn't clear to me that a solo sailor is safer setting and retrieving a drogue than just hunkering down. If there are multiple crew members that is a different question.


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