It is way too early to tell, but if you go on windyty, you will see a hurricane converging on our path! Really? Gulp, yes. It even has a name, Blas. Set your windyty to wind gusts, and step forward 2 days from now to the start. Blas “breaks up” pretty much right in our path, on the day we start, day after tomorrow. Furthermore, there is another hurricane (Celia) heading across from Mexico, and at least two more that will likely be born in the coming week.
Now I’ve been at sea in 30+ knots of wind numerous times, so I know to some extent what to expect. I’ve been in safe havens in 50+ knots of wind. That is when the droplets start to dance off the water, flying down wind, and visibility begins to drop.
But I have never been to sea in anything remotely resembling a hurricane. I don’t think the next two weeks will change that.
But it might. You can see the discussion of the best guess of what these hurricanes will do at the national hurricane center.
In the last few years, a really good climate biologist named Kerry Emmanuel has been examining a very interesting hypothesis: that global warming is increasing the frequency and, more profoundly, the intensity of tropical hurricanes. I’ve seen his talk, and examined his data. It seems to me that he is quite likely right. Last summer, I tracked the hurricanes in the eastern tropical pacific on windyty every week. New hurricanes popped up like flowers after a rain. All summer and into the fall, these storms emerge off the coast of mainland Mexico, and usually head west, or northwest. This summer is already setting up to be a repeat, with perhaps even more named hurricanes, of last summer.
Celia looks like it will brush the northern edge of Hawaii before it finally breaks up. If the race had started 5 July, we would be forced into an experience unlike any that anyone on the crew of Psyche has ever contemplated. I think we would survive. Worst case scenario, we would drop the mainsail entirely, and sail either under bare poles, or with a tiny storm jib. We would strap ourselves in and ride it out. From what I understand, the biggest danger is that of being rolled (sideways), or pitched (stern over bow), 360 degrees. I don’t really have much else to write about this possibility, for I only know what I’ve read. If a third hurricane takes shape in the next few days and converges with us, and we survive, you can be sure I will then have something more to write about hurricanes.
If we don’t survive, you can count that as a personal consequence of global warning, and honor it by trading in your gas guzzler for a lifelong pass on the Metro.