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16 April 2005, 08:37 pm
Gybing Downwind In A Dying Breeze
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Oryx Quest

Things are looking a little gloomy for Tony BULLIMORE and his team on board Daedalus. At the 07:00 GMT poll on Saturday the wind had swung aft and died away leaving the crew to gybe downwind in a dying breeze.
They are less than a hundred miles off the coast of Oman sailing the edge of a high pressure region located to their east.

While the circulation around the high is quite established, the area where Daedalus is currently located is also feeling the effects of a stationary low located in the north of Oman. That low is working against the high pressure circulation to kill the wind and the boat speed has dropped to low single digits. At the 07:00 GMT poll Daedalus was sailing at 4.2 knots.

If there is a silver lining to the weather forecast, it's the possibility of rain squalls later in the day. A weak cold front will likely generate some squall activity on its eastern edge and if so there will be some wind to sail on. Otherwise patience is the order of the day. 'It's not too bad out here,' Tony reported in a satellite phone call. 'It's true that the wind had died but we are still moving. Unfortunately our boat speed has been dropping for the last three or four hours and it's likely to drop even more as we sail away from the effects of the high. But it's not bad. It's a nice weekend for sailing and the crew know that the end of the race is very close.' Indeed there is just over two hundred miles until the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz and from there a mere 550 miles to the finish. As the crow files the are less than 600 miles away from Doha, but there is still the pesky Strait of Hormuz to negotiate.

The weather in the Strait is much like it was when Doha 2006 passed that way a little over a week ago. Light, fickle, variable; pick our adjective. In short there is not much wind for sailing and it's going to be a tedious few days ahead for Tony and his team as they struggle the last few miles of the Oryx Quest 2005. It's character building stuff and character is what the crew have, and spades of it. So until a fair wind picks up and scoots them north they are going to have to get used to the sound of the sails slatting in the left over slop and the sea turtles outpacing the boat. At least the weather is good for swimming.

Brian Hancock (As Amended By ISAF)
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