day 11 - groundhog day

February, 2nd

Today is Groundhog Day. Not because today is the same as all of the others, in fact it’s quite the opposite- it’s windy and bumpy as hell.
But it actually is Groundhog day, February 2nd, when all over North America people dress up in tops hats and tuxedos gather around and wait for a large ground squirrel to tell them when winter is going to end. The biggest of these get togethers is in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, at the Gobbler’s Knob- home of Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog made famous by the awesome movie, ‘Groundhog Day’.
Advocates of the hog believe it has between 75%- 90% accuracy in predicting the end of winter. You got to laugh when the National Climatic Data Centre said is actually more like 39%

Lucky for us we don’t have to carry a large rodent on board to give us our weather information, our weather models we get on board are pretty good. Unfortunately though they are telling us that we will be in pretty rough upwind weather most of the way to the finish some 560 miles away. So it’s shaping up to be a hard and tiring slog, and touch wood things won’t be made tougher by the abundance of fishing nets.
There are fishing boats all around out here now, even in the 25 knots and short sharp 2-3 metre seas we are pounding into, they are still out hauling in the fish.

Often in the rough weather conversation on deck is at its best. This morning we touched on a couple of interesting topics- what is the difference between a ‘sea’ (as in South China Sea) and an ‘ocean’ (as in the Indian Ocean)?
And irony-, which is always a tricky topic.

Animal said that it was ironic that today is Groundhog Day because it is unlike any other day we have had all leg- this is ironic.
Stu and Mike just started quoting lines from the Alanis Morrisette song, which I don’t think has any good examples of irony. I think the irony of the song ‘ironic’ is that it doesn’t have any good examples of irony in it.
It’s never easy to come up with things that are truly ironic. I’m sure you get a picture of how a few of us spent the next hour or so taking our minds off the stinging spray and constant thumping.

This race still hangs in the balance, with Telefonica looking like they are in a strong position, as does Groupama. Things could also potentially come good for Puma who have taken the easterly option. For CAMPER, the guys are plugging away relentlessly, working on doing everything possible to get us into a position we could potentially move up a place on the boats ahead of us. With a few favorable wind shifts and a bit of good luck this isn’t far from possibility. We are not far at all now from the Vietnam coast, once there the tack fest will begin

Here’s a fact bit of drivel for you:
If it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from it burrow it will leave the burrow signifying that winter will soon end. If it’s sunny and the groundhog sees its own shadow it will retreat back into its burrow and means the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.

Why not just listen to the weather girl on TV instead of a rodent? Great movie though.

day 9 a tough road ahead

January, 31st