POSITION : 25°O8•3' N 020°56•7 W
DATE/TIME : THURSDAY 29/11 AT 18:48 UTC
MOOD : EXHAUSTED
DAY 1 - 3 : GOOD START AND SCARY MOMENTS :
The delayed start of the rally to Tuesday the 27th of November 2012 was somehow chaotic. The Port Authorities of Las Palmas were not able any more to close the port for us exclusively for a certain time period. So roughly 190 boats had to leave the Marina within 45 minutes, and the start almost a flying one directly from a starting line in 2 batches with 15 minutes intervall. And that with a very gusty wind from East - Northeast with rain showers and a moderate to poor visibility. Anyway, the start was a spectacular view.
One hour later two groups of boats were clearly forming. One that was about to follow the classic route down to Cape Verde and then on a great circle towards the target, the others took immediatley after passing Gran Canaria a direct, west to southwest course to run on a direct line. The latter would be roughly 120 nautical miles less.
We also followed this route. Actually we did not do badly at the start.
And Champagne needs wind, so we were in the top 30 of the Cruisers for quite some time. But during the night we caught a cut in the top end of our Genoa ( front sail ), and we were not able to maintain speed and direction for the whole of Wednesday . Only one day after that did the wind change to North East, with good force, and Champagne started to run well again, even with a half reefed Genoa in order not to distroy the sail totally.
We need a very calm day at sea to bring the sail down and repair it.
Until then, we have to do with only 50% of our best sail. So already on the first day our competitiveness had been reduced.. But then, remember, it is 'only' a rally'. So we make ourselves believe. But when the racing fever grips you, the is no holding back.
At least for some !
"" BLOG sent on 1.12.2012 by Champagne to ARC :
Subject: ALL IS WELL
Dear Friends. First of all, we are all well, which of course is important. Mainly for us, may be also for you. Secondly, we had our ups and downs, and of that plenty.
We actually had a good start. Tactics worked, and we were with roughly 30 others in the front having passed the starting line. The weather was lousy, a lot of wind, but that suits Champagne. Having passed Gran Canaria we turned after a while West. It must have happened after midnight , and we don't know why, but our Genoa developed a cut in the top third , so we have been running with a reef in our best sail, meaning we have the full main out and a hugely reefed Genoa. That makes the boat totally unstable on the run, meaning we take the wind now on the quarter, but for speed and direction it is not optimal. The only luck we have so far are the very strong winds. Whilst some reported BF 5-6, we had from Thursday to Friday night constantly BF 7 with gusts up to 54 knots ! Regards to the weathermen.
Then disaster struck again. In one of these squalls our Genoa pole which was lashed to the mast, became loose at the bottom bracket, swung twice to each side, broke loose at the top, crashed onto the deck and vanished overboard in an instant....without leaving a trace and any damage. Now that's what I call a clear cut. SInce then however we have been deprived of our second best sailing option, the poled out Genoa. Now we have a second disadvantage. Of course we will try best, but it is frustrating , because the third plan, using our Parasailor, is not feasible. For it the winds are much too unstable, wind speed last night jumped between BF 2 to BF 6 to BF 10, all in 3 minutes.
But don;t worry you lot out there, we do not give up. And we still enjoy our three course breakfasts !
Master Mike ""
Anyway, what now ? A cut in the sail, pole for the Genoa gone, great, and that only after 3 days. Aren't we lucky. So we had pizza. I know, there is no connection necessarily, but pizza is a good moral booster when you are down. And down we were. Or better totally overtired and exhausted. Up all night in squalls and rain is not something adults should do for more than one night. And this was already our second one.
Gosh, any idea why men do this stuff ?
Machos, little Arnold Schwarzeneggers, and Silvester Stallones , listen to me - and I listen to myself as well : These people are only good in movies, real life is different !
Do you read me ? Over !
However I assume we are still more comfortable than those sailors 500 or 600 years ago. How did they cope with these conditions I wonder.
And why did they do it, without knowing necessarily what was behind the horizon.
This leads me to the second part of my previous blog "The beginning of the end" ( Part of the blog : The Island of Dogs ) with the title :
THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA.
( see my next blog coming soon ! )