vendredi 29 novembre 2013

Milestones ...

The leaders in the 2013 edition of the Mini Transat are already much farther West (now past 51 degrees West) than any of the participants in the last few editions, which finished in Salvador de Bahia at 38 degrees west.

Watching them go past the "milestone" of 38 W brought to mind what it is like to sail day after day in the open ocean, often going days (and for some skippers, weeks) without seeing another competitor.

The first thing you have to manage is the changes in weather.  This year's race doesn't go through the Doldrums but the trade winds have not been very well developed, so it will be a challenge to deal with the limited weather information that is available, if you can receive it.

By now most of the fleet should be into much warmer weather than they left in Sada - instead of worrying about how many layers to wear, they will start their day by putting on sunscreen and making sure they have enough drinking water for the day - and checking the deck and cockpit (and halyard bags) for any flying fish that might have landed on board during the night!

One way to deal with the days of open-ocean sailing is to create intermediate milestones.  I liked to make sure that I had a new milestone to aim for each day, try to figure out when I should get there, then try to beat that time.  Not everyone will do this, of course, but this year's skippers might have a target of passing a certain degree of longitude by noon today, or pass the X hundred miles to the finish milestone.

Those that are fighting for position will obviously be trying to maintain their position or move up in the fleet.  Those that are a little farther away (especially towards the back) need something to keep the motivation going.  Daily milestones are what worked for me.

1 commentaire: