Climate Change

What are the consequences for Blue Water Cruising?

Does Jimmy Cornell need any further introduction? The former BBC journalist- turned-author/sailor has logged some 200,000 miles sailing around the world... which makes him an invaluable observer of everything to do with ocean cruising: destinations opening up to yachting, technological developments, but also problems caused by pollution and climate change. Jimmy explains how a changing climate is affecting our plans for blue water multihull cruising.

Sailing routes depend primarily on weather, which changes little over the years. However, possibly as a result of the profound changes that have occurred in the ecological balance of the world environment, there have been several freak weather conditions in recent years. The most worrying aspect is that they are rarely predicted, occur in the wrong season and often in places where they have not been known before. Similarly, the violence of some tropical storms exceeds almost anything that has been experienced before. All we can do is heed those warnings, make sure that the seaworthiness of our boats is never in doubt and, whenever possible, limit our cruising to the safe seasons. Also, as the sailing community depends so much on the forces of nature, we should be the first in protecting the environment, and not contribute to its callous destruction.” These words were written in 1994 in the preface to the second edition of my book World Cruising Routes. In the intervening years, global weather conditions have seen major changes especially in the location, frequency, strength and extra-seasonal occurrence of tropical cyclones. A recently published report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that climate change is causing dangerous disruption in nature and is affecting billions of people, stressing the urgency to act.

- The oceans are getting warmer.
- The Arctic icecap is melting at a faster rate than in any recorded times as reported from Greenland this year.
- The tropical storm seasons are less clearly defined and becoming more active.
- Extra-seasonal tropical storms are more common.
- The Gulf Stream rate is slowing down.
- Coral is dying due to the oceans getting warmer.

According to a report published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), , the astonishing pace of warming in the oceans is the greatest hidden challenge of our generation, altering the distribution of marine species from microbes to whales, reducing fishing areas and starting to spread disease to humans, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of ocean warming. If the oceans had not already absorbed an enormous amount of heat due to escalating carbon dioxide, the atmosphere would be 36° warmer...

Hurricanes seem more powerful and harder to predict

Is this a sign of the intensification of the climate emergency? The 2020 North Atlantic hurricane season, for example, was the most active on record. Of the 30 named storms, 13 developed into hurricanes, and six intensified into super- hurricanes. In recent years several hurricanes have occurred in late May, others have occurred in late November and for that reason arrivals in the Eastern Caribbean should be planned for early December. These factors must be taken into account when planning a passage to or from the Caribbean.
In the Northwest Pacific both the frequency and force of typhoons is on the increase, with some super-typhoons having gusts of 200 knots or more. Typhoons ...

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