On our 2,800nm North Atlantic passage from Newport, RI to Ireland we passed through three gales. The first two were in the initial week of the passage, before we turned the corner south of the Grand Banks. It was during the first gale that we battled a water ingress issue that set off alarms a 1:15am. We passed through the third system about three days before making landfall in Kinsale, Ireland. This one was the most intense of the three, but thankfully the fastest moving, and we passed through the worst in only a few hours.
The video below shows what the conditions were like on board Dirona during the daylight portions of two of the storms. In the first, the winds were fairly heavy, running 25-30 knots with gusts to 47 knots. In the second, the winds were surprisingly light, and yet the waves were even bigger.
On this trip, the weather was far worse than expected. It was not dangerous, but was a bit of a reminder that the conditions in the North Atlantic can often be worse than predicted. Andrew Dickenson just sent us this article: Canada Launches Rescue as Winds hit Trans-Atlantic Sailing Race.
It’s a month closer to the ideal time to cross the North Atlantic and yet the conditions these boaters face are dangerous and potentially life-threatening when coupled with the mechanical problems they are seeing. Conditions are reported by the Canadian military to be 10 to 15 meter seas (32 to 49 feet) with 50 to 70 knot (58 to 81 mph) winds, much worse than the weather models indicate. Rescue efforts are still 24 to 72 hours away as we write this. The North Atlantic can be punishing.