Got a question from Bill asking for help with NMEA over Ethernet networking gremlins (good sign he is dealing with this as it means it is calm enough for him to start playing with toys and gadgets) which included some news I thought others might be interested in:
"...all is fine and conditions are easy right now. I think that those 24 hours on Monday night through Tuesday night were some of the roughest conditions I have sailed through. I remember 8 hours or so across the Gulf Stream in our first double handed race, but this had higher winds and seas. Our stbd beam and quarter was pooped and we had green water coming down the galley dorades and pilot house vents as water washed over the pilot house, and cockpit flooded 2/3 up the bridge deck with the back half of the swell when it reached the quarter. I guess that's what they mean by a squash zone., I queried Ken and I will forward his reply to you."
From Ken Mckinley:
"As to your questions, first, the low that generated the strong winds was very difficult to predict, and in the lower latitudes, because the Coriolis effect is less, small changes in the pressure gradient will lead to more significant changes in wind speeds compared to higher latitudes. Depending on which model run of GRIB data you looked at, subtle changes in pressure could lead to not so subtle differences in wind speeds. I find that GRIB data often underestimates winds in situations like this. One of the reasons I waved you off on the earlier departure was uncertainties in the pattern and the potential for difficult conditions, not necessarily picked up ahead of time by the models, both in terms of winds and seas a bit higher than you actually saw this time, and in terms of a significantly longer duration of those conditions. This time, even though there was the potential for tough conditions, it appeared unlikely that they would last for a very long time."
Long story short...weather is hard, but our intrepid sailors should have a fairly easy time to Fiji after a tough start.