Monday, October 29, 2007
Jaguar Logic 2nd Puma Logic 3rd.
Both Jaguar Logic and Puma Logic sailed extremely well in challenging conditions for race 4 of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series.
The team on Jaguar Logic were very keen to secure a good result for this race having been slightly ‘off form’ the previous two weekends. Pushing hard to the finish line, the two teams were very evenly matched with Jaguar Logic, skippered by Andy Greenwood, just getting the edge over Puma Logic, skippered by Tim Thubron. The finish was extremely close with just three seconds separating the two teams.
Puma Logic has now moved up to 2nd place in the series with Jaguar Logic hot on their tails in 6th place.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Hamble Winter Series Race Two
Puma Logic skippered by Tim Thubron finished 5th in the 2nd race of the Hamble Winter Series. This now puts Puma in 3rd equal on points in class 1. A very respectable result for the new team on Puma, especially considering the winds have been so light.
Jaguar Logic made a good improvement on their previous weeks result and finished in 10th place. The team sailed very well but struggled to find their form upwind in the light conditions. Expect to see a good improvement over the next few weeks.
Friday, October 12, 2007
We Have Done It
The final night of our 1000 mile qualifier provided me with a poignant moment in the campaign. My introduction to Open 60 sailing has been a massive learning curve, two weeks ago I had neither sailed long distances short handed or stepped foot on an Open 60! Over the past two weeks I have constantly quizzed Steve about Spirit of Weymouth, short handed sailing and Open 60’s in general. I needed to absorb as much information as I could in a very short space of time to enable me to bring some of my own experience and expertise to the boat in a positive way.
At midnight the wind started backing from the South East to the West and then North West. We had been drifting along at less then five knots in about the same wind speed. Now the wind was freeing us off and it was time to consider the kite. It was a black night with no moon. Despite the lack of wind there was a swell running probably pushed in from the deep low, mid Atlantic.
‘Ok,’ I decided, ‘time to put the kite up.’ I pondered for a few moments trying to decide whether to wake Steve or not. He was sleeping ever so peacefully after a very broken sleep the previous night! I took a deep breath and decided the time was right to put the kite up on my own! Now this may well seem daft to the seasoned single handed sailors and I certainly was not going to admit to Steve that I was slightly nervous about the issue. However, to me this was a big thing, it was to be the first time I had hoisted the kite on my own, added to this was the additional complexity; it was pitch black.
The manoeuvre bought a smile to my face. Everything went very smoothly and a few minutes later the Code 0 was down and the kite filled. Spirit of Weymouth instantly accelerated forward and was effortlessly slipping through the water at 10 knots in not much more wind. Very pleased with myself; it was time to reward myself with a hot ribena before taking the tiller and savouring the moment for the next four hours. I felt a huge sense of pride and satisfaction.
Next goal was to overcome my new found clumsiness! I think Bambi probably shows more stability and walks in a straighter line than I have been over the last couple of days! Never before have I shown any sign of uneasiness whilst moving around a boat. It surprised me that this could ever be an issue but after contemplating the rationale behind it I became more aware of my acute fear of falling over the side.
In the past I have always sailed with a crew who I have the confidence in to get the boat back to where I would be bobbing around. Now, with Steve asleep there is just me on deck much of the time and no one to see me fall overboard. It could be a couple of hours before anyone even new I was missing. Having identified the route cause it is time to remedy the phobia whilst remaining aware of the imposing dangers.
We jubilantly crossed the finish line at 0345 yesterday morning. I say ‘we’ and ‘jubilantly’ in the liberalist sense as I was in fact asleep! Steve had taken pity on my man flue and let me sleep in! Bless! He only woke me once back in Portland Harbour!
The wind has not been overly kind to us over the past few days, it has generally either been very light, bang on the nose or right up the chuff. The result is our sailing a total of 1165 miles to complete the course in just over five days. This is a 200 mile a day average. Whilst not brilliant for a fast Open 60 it was still a very respectable time considering the high pressure system that has been dominant over the British Isles and Western Approaches for the past couple of weeks. On the positive, we did have one twelve hour run of over 150 miles!
Stage one of our campaign is now complete. Over the next few days I will write about my reflections of an awesome five days of sailing, Steve White and his ambitions and the highs and lows of preparing for the Transat Jacques Vabre.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Just a quick update from our intrepid sailors aboard Spirit of Weymouth this morning. They have just sailed past the Lizard and have exceeded their target of the 1000 miles qualifying passage. This means that they have completed the necessary qualifying criteria for the Transat Jacques Vabre, which is great news....well done boys!!
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I have just heard the rugby scores from the weekend. Yes, I know it is Tuesday but the pigeons have not been coming out this far. One of the finest virtues of being at sea. Sorry Craig, bad luck. Can I have your ticket for the final? Did France not do the same to the All Blacks’s eight years ago? Good effort England! Not sure if it was a good game, I guess I will find out tomorrow.
Whilst Steve’s man flu is clearing up nicely mine is now developing well! I guess it was inevitable that I would get it, living in such close proximity. As you can imagine down below on an Open 60 is sparse to say the least.
There are no concessions given to weight on these boats, most of them do not even have a head (toilet). Why have that extra weight when a bucket will do he job perfectly adequately? I am pleased to say that sacrificing a fully functioning heads was one step too far to Steve, so we do actually have one. It is just the pan mind, no separate room for it, not even a curtain as that would be asking a bit too much!
When you come down below you step into the galley and nav station, along side that are the bunks (one each side) and in front is the heads. It is all open plan; so you could say that we cook, eat, work, sleep and crap in the same room! You definitely lose all your inhibitions out here. It does have to be remembered that these boats are designed for single-handed sailing. It is hardly surprising that I caught Steve’s man flu, there is just nowhere to hide from the germs, or Steve!
The last time I rounded Fastnet Rock was two years ago. What a contrast! There were nine of us aboard and we were leading our class in the Fastnet Race, the rock was in view for hours and hours and the sea glassy without a single ripple, except the ones caused by the rotors of the media helicopter. It was a typical balmy British summers day.
This time there was no friendly RORC official in the lighthouse to exchange jovial banter with, we were sailing at 14 knots and the loom of the lighthouse appeared through the rain cloud from just five miles away. There was none of the excitement and exhilaration of the previous rounding. The grainy silhouette of the rock soon disappeared into the dark dreary dawn as quickly as it appeared whilst we powered away at 14 knots just another memory.
I did experience a moment of nostalgia, reminiscing on some of the fond memories of previous Fastnet Races and also dwelling on what might have been this year! As the rock disappeared I soon re-focused and contemplated what lies in the future and what this rounding is all about. It is another milestone in another fantastic campaign and something I have never done before.
Now on the return leg home, we have already covered 840 miles since leaving Weymouth on Friday night. There is a cold front spanning the Celtic Sea at the moment, which is resulting in extremely light winds. For the past two hours we have had just two knots of wind. Progress is very slow and we do not anticipate much more wind until this evening. It is very frustrating having all this horse power and not being able to use it. At least it gives my over flexed and aching muscles a much needed break and time to recover. What a wuss!
All my hopes of a South Westerley gale to really put us through our paces and power us home in less than a day were in vain. What a contrast to the conditions that everyone experienced in the same area just two months ago. Steve was sailing at 25 knots back then! Sadly I will have to wait for another occasion to see an Open 60 perform in full glory.