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Hurricane?
Your Move …
Bill Biewenga knowingly
sailed across the Atlantic
at a notorious time of year,
towards hurricane swelled
seas.
Would he outwit nature in
his elaborate game of chess,
or would it be checkmate?
t
here are stories, and I have my fair share of them. After congratulations being offered with the observation, “I’ve actually
sailing over 300,000 nautical miles they seem to have lost more races than I’ve won.” Maybe by learning from the
proliferated like gerbils in a cage. I’ve been told that losses we can actually turn those defeats into victories, of a sort,
if you stay in this sailing game long enough and cover and can come back stronger.
enough miles, everything will happen to you, both the good When people ask what prompted me to become involved
things and the bad. I have witnessed stunning tropical sunrises with marine weather routing, my stock answer is that in 1985 I
with clouds towering like pastel mountains of cotton in the sky; undertook a single-handed transatlantic speed record attempt/
I have trailed warps with sea spume burning my face in the high delivery aboard Thursday’s Child as a qualifier for the ‘86-’87 BoC.
winds; I have been lucky. here is one of my stories. I confronted the worst weather I have experienced in the north
Atlantic, and placed myself on the wrong side of every wind shift.
WEAthER pLANNINg
For twenty-three days I was alone and had ample time to reflect
It’s a chess game: you or me – against the weather. It matters that there had to be a better way. since inquiries regarding my
little whether I am in a race, delivering a boat, trying to set a initial interest in forecasting frequently arise while I’m offshore,
speed record or routing someone else trying to do the same some people don’t feel particularly comforted by the fact that at
things. It matters little whether it is a monohull or multihull, one time I was on the wrong side of every wind shift for more
.
C
O
M
than three weeks. somehow it makes me laugh. shortly after
IA
novice crew members or battle-toughened offshore veterans.
there are different constraints, assets and liabilities with that 1985 experience I started to take a proactive role in learning
F
O
T
O
l

different mission statements, but it all comes back to a game how to best deal with weather in a marine environment. now,
T
ON
PHO
of chess against the weather. sometimes I win, sometimes whenever I’m dealing with offshore weather, I view it as yet
© q the weather catches me out. paul Cayard, following a victory another chess match, and one of the more interesting matches
GE
IMA
in the Whitbread round the World race, responded to the was during the hurricane season in the mid-1990s. u
MAY 2009 YACHTWORLD.COM 33
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