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  • Peter

The final countdown

We are entering what will hopefully be the final 2 weeks of the trip. Next weekend families from the UK and Australia will be making the trip to Mauritius to welcome the crew and my family and I will be travelling with Chris’ wife Donna on Sunday. The question on everybody’s lips is “when will Goldie & the boys arrive?”

For me the 2 hourly pings from the YBTracker have provided a “heartbeat” that has given reassurance that the crew are OK as well as data, such as their lat/long position and current Speed Over Ground (SOG). I built a Microsoft Power BI dashboard to automatically ingest and analyse this data and have published weekly updates every Thursday summarising the crew’s progress. I now find myself updating this at least 6 times/day and poring over the data looking for answers.

Back in week 4 and based on the data I had at the time which predicted a 73-day crossing, I took the plunge and booked flights to arrive on day 66. At the time Chris chastised me for not being more optimistic and pointed out that previous crews had taken 45 days to cover the first half, but only 25 days to do the second. I had wondered whether I should have booked flexible fares, but as a data person I put my faith in the numbers.

The Ocean Rowing Society record is based on average SOG rather than days to cross the Indian Ocean. This is to take into account different departure and arrival ports and the current record for a 4-person crew is 2.07 knots. I’ve shown this as a red line on my weekly analysis report.

One additional report I have been tracking is average SOG by week. Up until week 7 the crew had been on a record pace but unfavourable winds and current necessitated 5 days on the para-anchor and very limited progress. Since then their average SOG for the whole trip has been slowly but surely creeping up. Over the last week, aided by favourable winds and big seas, Goldie has been flying along, covering 60-70Nm day – faster than at any other time on the journey. I has been beginning to wonder whether I should have been more optimistic and whether the crew would beat us to Mauritius!

So back the question of when will the crew arrive? I used Power BI’s forecast feature to make a prediction and currently it is saying Sunday 23 July (day 73!) but the range is from 18th July. I did a second crude calculation (shown in the bar chart). Speed in knots is Nautical Miles per hour so I divided Nm to Destination by SOG (as captured by the tracker) and then divided by 24 to get Days to Finish and averaged this over the current day. This is suggesting 19th July!

Wind and current are such big influences and are forecast to mostly be in Goldie’s favour, but as they approach the coast of Mauritius and the “Witches Cauldron” they are likely to slow slightly so I think 19-22 July is the most likely arrival window.

The 22 July will be Bev, Chris’ mother-in-law’s birthday. Bev suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and has been his motivation behind the trip. Whilst I would love the boys to get there sooner if you believe in fate…


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