I find myself once again adapting to a routine. This leg start was easier to find our groove, and when you know what to expect, this can be both and advantage and disadvantage. I woke on race day morning to Table Bay full of white roaring water, I knew there was 35+ knots out there (conditions you wouldn’t even put your mother-in-law out in, no matter how much you disliked her). The fact that I had the experience of what it’s like to sail these boats in such conditions made it even more difficult for me. I definitely built this start up more in my mind. When we finally did leave the dock it was actually nowhere near as bad as I was expecting.
Our spectator boat threw us a little surprise also, we sailed by to see our supporters and they had a choir of singers kick up an inspirational tune to get us on our way. I have to say it was very surreal to have a choir singing at full belt as we circled them under one of the most iconic mountains in the world. This was a true reminder that Team Vestas is also in a much bigger race against climate change, energy poverty and water scarcity.
Our start was far from ideal, technical issues caused us problems with furling the J2. Mistakes are and can be made when its blowing 35ktns. We caught the pack very quickly as we all know Table Bay can be a cruel place to sail.
Night fell very quickly and shortly we found ourselves following our usual patterns. Life becomes very simple again, four hours to work, four hours to sleep, eat and rest (if you can get it).
We are looking out our routing this morning and making decisions based on new weather models. So that’s it from me for my first short blog, no doubt I will have more information later when the first 24hrs at sea develops.
On day two our position in the fleet almost feels irrelevant as we can see all the boats around us. The first little incident of the day was our torn mainsail. We are certain the violent gybe we had during the in-port leg of the start has caused this damage. Tom (sail maker) quickly got to work with Peter to get repairs underway. When all the patches were ready and glue beginning to set, it was time to drop the main and patch it up.
The main being down did cost us some time, we are not sure exactly how much but it’s never ideal. A necessary evil and just as well as it was long before we encountered a building sea state and winds. The Agulhas current was always going to be a stretch of water we needed to cross, today was that day. It’s arguably the strongest of ocean currents going northeast to southwest off the South African coast. Most shipping nowadays avoids this area as too many ships get damaged here, well actually, they sink!
We had our day in the sun too, the breeze was back to its reliable 20-25’s and we were back in some familiar territory…WET CLOTHES! These boats are very wet at these speeds but it’s a tough one to call, it’s rough and damn impossible to do much without great effort but going fast in the right direction is really good too.
So for now the sun begins to set and SCA is to leeward of us, Nicolai is driving fast, very fast and we think it’s not long now before we can roll over the top of them. Despite the girls being competition, it’s nice to see other boats close around you. We are the only ones mad enough to be out here today.
Al’s diner was back today to full operational quality. I must say our new food supplier for this leg is questionable - the food so far (and I know we have only had two meals) is not good. I think I may lose my business by Abu Dhabi given recent sales figures. I’ll have to wait and see - it needs further assessment, but when Chris says, “Mate, that was pretty average, wasn’t it?” this does worry me…