*Update* Statement of the Race Committee about Hurricane "Chris"
Statement of the Race Committee with regards to the Hurricane "Chris"
Thursday, 12 July, 09:00am UTC:
"Chris" was downgraded to a category 1 hurricane yesterday night. As of 0900 UTC this morning, Chris has been further downgraded to a Tropical Storm. It is presently around 200 nm SE of Halifax and moves NE at around 30 knots. This general motion is expected to continue for the next 2-3 days, and Chris's center should pass the SE corner of Newfoundland this night.
The Race Committee will continue to monitor conditions, but we believe that there is no significant risk of exposing any competitor to wind speeds at hurricane force winds - even the potential for "normal" storm conditions are low, as Chris passes to the North and West of the fleet. All boats are equipped and trained for wind speeds well exceeding the current forecast.
Unless conditions change for any reason, this ends the periodic reporting on Chris by the Race Committee.
Wednesday, 11 July, 10:00am UTC:
As of 05:00am UTC, Hurricane Chris has deepened into a category 2 (Saffir-Simpson Wind scale) hurricane. At the same time, it's speed has increased from 9 to 19 knots. It is continuing on the track that was predicted by the NHCC 48 hours ago, and the confidence in the continuation of this track is extremely high. The trajectory expects it to make landfall in Newfoundland around 01:00am UTC on Friday morning. The nature of the land (path of least resistance) makes it likely that it will cross Newfoundland through Placentia and Conception Bay. When it does, it will move from the around 20 degree warm water of the Gulf Stream to the approximately 4-7 degree cold water of the Grand Banks and the Labrador Current, which will essentially cut its energy supply. It will then begin to dissipate, and move further East across the Atlantic as a much less powerful, "normal" storm.
Our forecasters agree that our boats have no significant risk of meeting hurricane force winds to the East and South of a great circle between 40°N 060°W and 50°N 035°W. All boats with the exception of Varuna and Malizia - Yacht Club Monaco, which are well clear ahead of the hurricane, meet this condition.
The Ice Gate at 46°N 051°W, which is a prohibited obstruction of the course, will further make sure that boats remain clear of the worst of the winds and sea state.
There is also a huge area of high-pressure to the East and in easy reach of the competitors, offering refuge and calm waters should the need arise.
Rambler 88 has less than 200 nautical miles left to go to Newport, and we have received confirmation that they are well aware and tracking the hurricane. They have considered a number of options and decided to have a sufficient safety-margin to proceed safely to Newport.
We will continue to monitor developments and will update the website as necessary.
Tuesday, 10 July, 09:00pm UTC:
As of 05:00pm UTC today, the tropical depression "Three", that had after the start of the regatta been updated to a tropical storm named "Chris", has now been updated to Hurricane Chris.
It may have maximum sustained wind speeds of 75 knots. It is presently still WNW of Bermuda, and moves NE at around 9 knots presently. The Race Committee has been tracking developments with regards to our competitors from its very beginning as a tropical depression, and it was also mentioned in the Skippers' Briefing. We have contracted professional forecasters to support us with their expertise. At present, we believe that all boats have chosen their tracks wisely to avoid the hurricane, but we are prepared to offer advice and recommendations - should the need arise - to keep the boats safe.
Special consideration have the slower boats, which may also have limited communications equipment to track the hurricane using high-resolution satellite imagery, and Rambler, who will be crossing ahead of the hurricane towards Newport. In her case, her speed puts her well ahead of the storm, and with her ability to accelerate to up to 14 knots under engine we are certain that the experienced crew, and especially renowned Navigator Stan Honey, will have no problems getting safely into Newport.
A further update on Chris will be issued around 09:00am UTC tomorrow (July 11).