Cheerful Seas Ahead for Atlantic Challenger

4 01 2016

Dale C. S. Destin |

Good news for rowers taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, racing to Antigua and Barbuda.  After angry seas for most of the last 15 days, since the challenge started, cheerful marine conditions are expected to greet the challengers after midweek.

The daredevil rowers, including Team Wadadli (Antigua) are currently experiencing fresh to strong winds of 17 to 23 knots (20-26 mph) with wind gusts as high as 30 knots (35 mph). Seas are very rough with heights of 2.4 to 3 metres (8 to 10 feet).

Wave Height (m), Valid Mon, Jan 4, 2016, Issued Jan 4 at 6 AM AST

Wave Height (m), Valid Mon, Jan 4, 2016, Issued Jan 4 at 6 AM AST

The current marine conditions are extremely dangerous. For such conditions in coastal waters, warnings would be in effect and small craft operators, such as these rowers, would be told not to venture far from port. However, I guess, therein lies part of the challenge.

The race was set to start on December 16 but was delayed by hazardous marine conditions to December 20.

Although not very reliable beyond a week, wind wave models are forecasting relatively comfortable sea conditions from around January 7 to January 19. After the middle of this week, the winds will generally stay under 16 knots (18 mph) and seas less than 1.8 metres (6 feet). Until then, the racers will continue to be battered by angry waves.

Wave Height (m), Valid Thu, Jan 7, 2016, Issued Jan 4 at 7 AM AST

Wave Height (m), Valid Thu, Jan 7, 2016, Issued Jan 4 at 7 AM AST

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge dates back to 1997. Initially, it was a bi-annual event but it‘s set to become annual confrontation of the Atlantic. It rows-off from the Canary Islands and ends, as of 2005, at the Historic Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda. It covers a journey of around 4.7 million metres (2930 statute miles).

The Progress of the Rowers as of 8 am AST. Team Wadadli's Position is Marked in Plum with a bold White Outline

The Progress of the Rowers as of 8 am AST. Team Wadadli’s Position is Marked in Plum with a bold White Outline

For the first time a team from Antigua and Barbuda is taking part in the race. The team can be followed here on facebook. They are currently in 11th place; however, the focus for them is on the challenge of completing such a race.

Boats should start to arrive in Antigua at in the next 17 days, or so, to hundreds of welcoming Antiguans along with the seafarers families and friends.

Let’s hope the weather after Wednesday give them much cheers until they reach our shores.



3 responses

4 01 2016
Janie Easton

Good news for a change! Go Wadadli!


4 01 2016
Eli Fuller

Dale, great blog post, but i have a question. You see, winds in the 20 knot range with big waves are challenging for the crew but not so much if they are coming from the east. West winds that are lighter are worse! I see that there’s a low pressure system approaching and one of the long term forecasts shows lighter winds from the west over the weekend. That would be very bad! Can you see if the guys will be getting this west and south wind on the weekend given their estimated position being about 250-350 miles further west than their current position which is Lat: N 21°03.8406′ Lon: W 30°58.9485′ ?


5 01 2016
Dale Destin - Antigua Met Service

All the best for the new year Eli!

Yeah, I do agree that going with the flow makes it less dangerous. However, in the event they were to lose control of the boat again and it goes broad-side, the risk of it rolling over is much higher. I also sure that the comfort level is greatly reduce, even though they may be going with the flow of the waves. I look at the winds associated with the low and they could be in some very light west winds on Jan 11 and 12. These winds are likely to be less than 5 knots, possibly calm at times. We use to row from Point Wharf to the old Jetty, against stronger east winds and it was not a problem. Those two days could be like rowing in a lake. Of course, you have more experience at this than I do, so I will tend to differ to you. If they were to drop down to around 16 N, they could avoid these light westerlies all together. I would imagine that they have ready access to the latest weather info?


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