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Xtra-link supplies the tracking facility for the Colorpress Vasco da Gama yacht race 2013 for the 2nd year.
Follow the race via the yacht clubs website:http://rnyc.org.za/
Xtra-Link will be exhibiting at the 25th Anniversary of the Metstrade show in Amsterdam from 13th to 15th November 2012.
Come and join us at Stand ESS-256 at the Dubai International Boat Show 2012. For all your telecommunication equipment and the latest gadgets and equipment from Digital yacht.
Leg 3 of the Global Ocean Race, from Wellington, New Zealand, around Cape Horn, to Punta del Este, Uruguay, was always going to be a tough one, but the first two weeks have been even harder than imagined. All the weather GRIB files being downloaded on our Xtra-link provided Fleet Broadband 250 showed the Pacific high pressure system being very far south this year, promising easterly headwinds for most of the first two weeks, until we were near the mid-Pacific scoring gate where we could turn more towards the south and head directly towards Cape Horn.
The headwinds took their toll early with Buckley Systems retiring from the race when Ross Field was thrown violently across the boat in the rough conditions and injured his back quite badly. At about the same time Campagne de France retired, citing the risk of damage as being too great to continue beating for another 1 000 miles.
Aboard Phesheya-Racing the seas became so rough that we eventually resorted to heaving-to for several hours. At about this time we became aware of Tropical Cyclone Cyril forming in French Polynesia, and realised that it was forecast to recurve towards the Southern Ocean and cross our track as an extra-tropical gale towards the end of the second week at sea.
Realising that it would be almost impossible to beat around the south side of the gale we altered course towards the north, in order to try and reach the N and W winds coming off the top of the gale. The continual pounding as we beat our way northwards eventually took their toll and both of our autopilots stopped working. This is where Xtra-link really came to the rescue! Isolated on the fringes of a gale in the Southern Ocean with no autopilot, it was essential to have good communications with the autopilot manufacturer back in France in order to get things back in working order.
With almost 12 hours of time difference we worked through the night, emailing and phoning as we tried to trouble shoot the problem. Early in the morning we finally managed to jury rig our back-up pilot so that it would work. With the noise of the gale raging on deck, and the crashing waves, it could have been very difficult to communicate with the people in France, as we struggled with each others accents, but the fantastically clear line of the FBB 250 made it easy, even in what is almost the world’s most remote part of the ocean.
Once we got going again we continued to work our way NE, and were surprised to come across two fishing boats in the middle of nowhere! The second one of the two actually called us up on the radio and we had a long chat with them. The boat was the Betty H, a tuna fishing boat all the way from Hawaii! They have been at sea for three months so it was great for them to have some new company. In the end we swapped email addresses and promised to keep in contact. So now the Xtra-link communications system is even allowing us to keep in touch with people we have never met before!
Towards the end of the second week at sea we finally made it past the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Cyril, now reformed into an extra-tropical gale system, and the winds have suddenly shifted to aft of the beam. The weather system brought some remarkably warm (+20 C) air, but a lot of moisture in the form of mixed fog and rain. As it has moved away the skies have cleared and the temperature has remained mild as we await the arrival of our first “classic” Southern Ocean frontal system.
Nick & Phillippa
Navigator working hard.
Go south until the wind starts to blow from the west.
Hello Tristan da Cunha!
We are still busy downloading weather GRIB files on the Fleet Broadband 250 provided by Xtra-link, and as usual the high pressure we have to negotiate has formed further south and west than some people might expect. We believe that this will be to our advantage, being the westernmost boat in the fleet, we will have the best opportunity to avoid the worst of the calms in the centre of the high and will also be the first boat to pick up the new breeze from the next frontal system approaching from the west. As usual the service provided by Xtra-link is a critical part of our planning and we are really pleased with both the service and the functioning of the Fleet Broadband 250. Thank you!
Life onboard has become colder and wetter now that we are out of the Tropics and are heading rapidly southwards. We have had some rough seas over the past 36 hours but it is slowly settling down as we get closer to the high pressure. With any luck we should have good breeze for another two days before we tackle the high, and then we expect to get south of it, turn east and start heading towards the finish line.
The positions on the Global Ocean Race leaderboard are rather misleading as they are measured in a straight line from Fernando de Noronha to Cape Town, a route that one cannot sail directly. As Sec.Hayai is still 350 miles north of us we believe that they are really behind us, as they also need to get down to our latitude at some point before they can make any progress towards the east. Financial Crisis is over 150 miles to our SE so will have to deal with the high pressure before us, and will only get the new frontal wind after us, so they are within our sights. Cessna Citiation is much further east and in a complex situation, too far east to go around the high in the normal way, but with the risk of being becalmed and facing headwinds if they try to pass to the east of the high. At the moment it is difficult to predict the outcome of their strategy.
This week will be interesting.
Nick & Phillippa
The 1st succesfull install of the Sailor Sat Tv 60 unit has just been completed by Xtra-Link Marine on a 48 ft Catamaran in Dubai. It is the start of many more to come!
Its hard to stay out of the sun while sailing through the Doldrums. Thanks to Xtra-Link we slightly protected with their caps. Follow Nick and Phillipa as they sail through the Doldrums. http://www.phesheya-racing.com/
The last few days have all about getting south but west at the same time. With the wind from the North East it is more favourable on the port gybe on the direct rum line to Fernando off the coast of Brazil. Fernando is were the gate is for the first leg of the Global Ocean Race. In order to get to Fernando from the Cape Verde Islands we need to get through the Doldrums and across the Equator. This is very tricky in terms of finding the right weather at the right time. Xtra-Link has been ever so kind as to help us out with our communications on board Phesheya-Racing. With Xtra-Link we are able to down load big weather files from our FBB 250 (Fleet Broad Band 250). This then allows us to pick an optimal route for our passage.
The FBB250 also gives our communications with the rest of the world. Xtra-Link gives us the service to send our blogs out and receive position reports of our competitors. Thank you to Xtra-Link for all their service, it has made a big difference being able to have great communications.
The last 24 hours been watching the wind shifts and make the appropriate decisions. We have gybed a few times, put reefs in and shaken them out. We were lucky enough to have a very bright moon last night which made helming so much easier. Today it is just far to hot out on deck to even think about doing some helming. This morning as the sun rose we did our checks from last night and realised that our auto-pilot mounting was a bit loose and wobbling around. We have used some of our floor boards to make some supports as a temporary measure. Next on the agenda for today is a shower!!
Phillipa at the Nav station of Phesheya