TJV Finish

We finished the TJV in the morning of the 22nd November, in 9th position overall.  We were battling to the end and finish only 1.5 hrs behind 7th position Groupe Setin, and 19 minutes behind 8th placed SNBSM. Right up until we heard SBBSM cross the line we believed we still had a chance of catching them.

It has been a full on epic race, incredibly demanding, never easy and very very long.  When we set off we did not imagine it would be four weeks before we set foot on the land again and certainly did not imagine we would be racing within sight of our other competitors so close to the finish.

Before the race as I am new to this fleet the other boats were just names, I did not know the skippers and had no idea how the course would play out.  Over the last three weeks of the race our group of four boats have got to know each other intimately on the water, we have been watching each other’s every moves, speaking often about what the others may be doing, the boats have developed their own personas but still the skippers remained faceless.

When we arrived on the dock the first people to shake our hands and welcome us were the skippers from Groupe Setin and SNBSM, it was a great moment for me to meet these guys for the first time having been locked into competition with them for so long.  Later the Brazilian skippers from Zetra joined us and all three teams had the same thing to say – ‘you were pushing us really hard, we sailed faster because of you’ – it seems no one wants to be beaten by the girls.

I am of course gutted that having been ahead for so long we ended up coming in 9th place but our competitors were worthy; we sailed as hard as we could, overcame what problems we had and at the end of the day lost out by what is a tiny margin over such a large distance.  Our competitors did not try and less hard than us, they deserved their positions and it has been an absolute honour to have raced against such great, dedicated sailors.

Last night we had our post race party and a chance to catch up with all of the other teams (bar two which have already left) we sat in a bar on the beach, swapped stories, made plans and promises about what and where we would be next and generally revelled in our achievements.

Phillippa and I came into this race with in reality very little time on the water together.  We both have a lot of different experience behind us which has held us in good stead. As the race has gone on we have started to perform better and better as a team, we have pushed harder, sailed faster and made the most of every minute spent out there; at no time has either one of us let the other down, we have learned when to and how to support each other in the best way and always with the end goal of how can we make this boat go faster.  For me, gender is not relevant to what we have achieved – we can both come out of this race with our heads held up as sailors exactly the same as our other competitors.

A massive thank you to Tony Lawson and Team Concise for the opportunity, support and belief in our ability to compete in this race; Team Concise continues to offer great opportunities to young up and coming British sailors and is a wonderful platform in developing our offshore talent of the future. But most of all thank you to Phillippa for choosing to sail with me as her co-skipper and for  taking on the Atlantic and all that it has thrown at us with equal determination and passion to do well.

22nd November 2015 TJV Concise 2 Blog

22nd November 2015  TJV Concise 2 Pip Hare’s Blog

 

I haven’t written a blog for a few days now, the  pace in this final phase of the race has been as intense as ever, hours and days have merged and been totally absorbed by steering, trimming, navigating and sail changes.  Precious down time has been for sleeping only to recharge ready for the next burst of activity. Now with less than 200 miles to the finish of the TJV I have managed to snatch half and hour in the early morning sun to take stock.

The chase down to Cabo Frio was wet and wild, we chose a route inside the oil fields and heading into the night of the 20th November were flying with the small spinnaker up and sea state starting to build as the wind increased to 30 knots.  As the waves started to build Concise 2 made the most of them surfing regularly at 16 or 17 knots and easily making our course between the land and the oil fields and we counted down the miles. Night fell and we discussed what should be our cut off point for dropping the spinnaker, we still had no reliable use of autopilot on starboard tack and could we really hand steer it through the night without incident? We set our dropping parameters to be one of us not able to steer, no moonlight or a consistent wind over 33 knots, the latter came first and though it was so tempting just to carry on as we were doing fine we resolutely dropped when we had a consistent wind speed of 34 knots and continued the rest of the night under staysail and reefed main.  This turned out to be a good call as the moon disappeared not long after and the wind through the second half of the night was a consistent 36 to 37 knots.  We desperately needed to try and get some energy back for the morning.

By morning and after a couple of hours sleep I was feeling like a new woman, we hoisted the kite as sun rose in the ‘moderated’ 28 knots and Pip did the first shift, as we swapped the breeze again increased to 33-34 knots but in the daylight we held our nerve and I then took all the pleasure from a five hour helming session which has been already logged as one of my all time best sails.

The times when sailing an asymmetric spinnaker that it is generally beneficial to arc the boat up and sail like an absolute lunatic are actually few and far between. Normally downwind VMG with it’s sensible shoes and clip board reminds you that though you might be going really fast in that direction, where you want to go is actually over there so fun is not always on the agenda.

For a couple of hours on Saturday morning the course the wind and the waves allowed me some proper lunatic helming. The boat was on fire as I was properly able to surf off one wave, then steer up increasing my speed to catch the next, which our bow would skip off with a gentle slap, bursting over the crest into thin air and chasing the next. Speeds of 17 knots became the cruising average and while making breakfast Pip started to set me challenges saying,’ you can’t have coffee unless you are going at over 19 knots’. With that I hunted the first wave, surfed, bounced to the next then jumped and skipped between crests with the bow continuously in thin air and the lightest of slaps as we made contact with our next victim. The boat speed ramped up and up, the humming and screaming from the foils got louder and louder, the helm felt electric and as torrents of water burst down the deck covering me, I was locked in, adrenaline pumping, biggest grin ever on my face; we broke through 19 knots at the third wave, then carried on to 20, 21.2 knots with me screaming over the noise of the boat,’ GIVE ME COFFEE’. Both of us were crying with laughter and the boat still charged on at 18 knots.

My new speed record that morning came in at 23.2 knots. That is my kind of sailing. As predicted the richness of this last race to Cabo Frio died with the wind later that day, and we sat in a windless hole, waiting for the others to catch up and restart this 5400 mile race with only 450 miles to go.  The contrast in conditions was the same in emotions, how could we go in a matter of hours from full on flying and pulling away from the competition to sitting with sails flogging while we literally watch Espoir sail up behind us in their own personal wind destroying a lead we had been fighting for days to keep.

Since Cabo Frio we have been at the back of this pack now in 9th place. We spent a lot of the day yesterday in sight of Espoir but finally lost them late afternoon.  We are pretty much sailing blind at the moment.  We have two possible systems to gain weather information onboard, one is via a satellite broadband connection which would allow us to access any weather source on the web, the other is via iridium email which confines us to requesting GFS model gribs via the sail docs service. A problem with our computer has meant we are not able at all to contact to the internet so can only use sail docs as our weather source. This has done us well to date however the further south we travel the less reliable these files are and we have now got to the stage where after at least three days of completely incorrect weather information we would probably be better off splitting open one of our teabags in the bottom of a bucket and reading the weather that way.

Yesterday our routing told us to go far South, with the wind we had that didn’t seem right so we did the only sensible thing which was to stay close to the rum line.  During the morning a 30 knot weather front passed over us, we had no indication this might be coming the grib had suggested 10 knots from the south east not 30 from the south west.  Like this we feel lame, we can’t really plan, we don’t know what is ahead there is very little strategy available to us other than sailing the shortest course we can.
It’s a strange set of circumstances, less than 200 miles to go, 4 miles between us and our coveted 8th position and 20 to 7th. All we can do is keep focussed on sailing fast and on the right gybe, maybe cross fingers for a bit of luck but I am willing to bet there are others in the fleet also with crossed fingers too.

19th November Concise 2 Blog

it’s hot and humid, the sky is heavy with cloud and over the last 36hrs everything has become very intense on this our final 1000 miles of the TJV.

We have ended up slogging it out mile for mile with two other boats, Groupe Setin and Espoir Competition and it has been down to the mile. What had been a virtual race played out with 6hrly position reports from the race committee became a reality in the early hours of Wednesday morning we spotted what looked like a mast head light on the horizon to the East of us.  We checked the AIS but nothing there, and decided in all likelihood it was Groupe Setin. Sure enough as the sun rose the outline of a spinnaker led class 40 appeared still nothing on the AIS though – isn’t it funny how so many of them work in port but just conk out at sea?? A decent marine electrician could make a fortune in the racing world….

Slowly over the previous night our lead had been eroded by both boats largely due to our reticence to use the newly repaired A2 big spinnaker, however with the stark reality of a competitor in sight we resolved firmly it is better to go down fighting than to take a slow defeat through not having the right sail up the mast.  From now on we use the A2 like there is nothing wrong with it.  So far it is holding.

The rest of yesterday was a blur, we steered, trimmed, monitored the breeze but still they remained on our hip, finally the opportunity came to gybe away and we took it just to try and break the cycle of having them there.  Both of us understand at this stage how important it is not to let things slip, we need to stack the boat well, change between spinnakers with diligence, to be lazy will cost us places. Down below moving all of the kit from one side to the other after a gybe is excruciating, it is unbearably hot to climb down under the cockpit and place our stacking bags, the inside of the boat is salty and you are drenched in sweat before even one tenth of the job is done.

Yesterday was one of those days when sleep went by the wayside as there was always a sail change of manoeuvre to be done and by the afternoon we were both starting to feel the strain of the heat and lack of sleep, this is when mistakes can happen and of course if they can they will.  We had changed between the little and big spinnakers multiple times yesterday with no problem, by now we are a slick team, Pips on the helm and me battling it out on the foredeck; but in the afternoon when changing up we just got our timing a bit wrong and the spinnaker tack let go with and sent the whole sail flying and flogging wildly before I could pull the snuffer down. As an open target on the foredeck a spinnaker sheet compete with metal shackle whipped across and caught me on the corner of my face and I dropped to the deck with my hands over my head.  It was over in an instant, the boat back under control and me crouched down pulling down the snuffer and battling with a stabbing pain in the face. I
resolved to finish the change and methodically went through the motions of unplugging one sail and then hoisting the next, when I got back to the cockpit I could already see out of the corner of my eye a huge swelling had appeared and Pips face told me it wasn’t pretty.  After some strong anti-inflammatories and a large dose of painkillers and a sleep the egg has disappeared and I am left quite rightly with a blackening eye; I would feel cheated to have had such a painful injury with no war wounds to prove it.

Last night we knew we needed to take care, the balance between pushing the boat to stay ahead and making mistakes through exhaustion was on the verge of tipping and we needed to keep it the right way. Overnight we settled for using the smaller spinnaker in marginal conditions and trying to each bank a decent four hour sleep.  Mercifully it has been cooler for sleeping and we were allowed an uneventful night. We both woke recharged and ready for another day of action.

Today is exactly that, again we are no holds barred with the big spinnaker, ignoring the big scar across it and pushing as hard as we can. Anything still goes, we have just over 24 hours to Cabo Frio and then the final chapter of this race will play out in the light an fickle winds for the final 300 miles to Itajai.  We are not counting the days or hours, there is no point in pinning our hopes on a finish time, we just need to sail fast and stay in the game, just like our competitors.

18 November 2015 report for TJV race committee

The sea is black with the milky way over head and big black clouds on the horizon while the pink kite sails us on. I am driving and trying my utmost best to make the boat sail down the messy sea while the boat whobbles in the breeze that is trying to die down as dawn approachs. Suddenly I got a warm splat on my hand and then next to me on the sail lying on the deck. I jumped and it started to smell very fishy. It was not a flying fish but a bird that had come to say hello. After several attempts the bird landed on the spredder. I think it was a Nody bird, they love to sit on boats at night time and enjoy the ride. We havent seen much wild life recently at all except for the flying fish and some birds when we sailed past Fernando de Noronha 3 days ago. Fernando de Noronha is a group of rocks off the buldge of South America this was the first mark of the course for the Global Ocean Race. I cant believe that it was 4 years ago that we sailed around those rocks and headed to Cape
Town fo
r the first stop over. Thankfully this time we are going to be stopping in Brazil on the TJV.

Later today we will have less than a 1000nm to the finish in Itajai. This is goig to be another mile stone for this race. Our bodies are begining to take their toll now. My hands are peeling as the skin sheds off in layers, our bums hurt from being salty for days and the sun is being to get the best of us. It is hot now and its tricky to eat enough to keep ourselves going. We still have a fair way to go so we must keep sleeping, eating and maintaining Concise 2.

Yesterday morning as the sun rose I saided under a big black cloud. I was not sure what it was going to do but there was a shift and the wind increased to 22knots. Almost instantly we were flying. Gennaker, stay sail and full main stacked aft and no ballast we took off.This is the most fun I have had all race. we were sailing at a true wind angle of 110 and doing 14knots and surfing faster, jumping from one wave to the next. The wind increased and stayed with us all morning. in the afternoon we flew the small spinaker and then it was time to get our pink spinaker out again. Pip had sown it back together and we just held our breaths as we opened up the sock.There it was all in one piece. Pip had done a great job! We were a bit nervous last night of blowing it up so went to the gennaker for a while. Unfortunately we lost so valueable miles here as a green mast head light followed us for ages and when the sun rose we thought that it may be a Class 40. On the position report we h
ave note
d that it is Group Setin. 4400nm of sailing and we can still see our competitors. What an amazing race this race and Class is. The pink spinaker has been back up since well before sunrise.

We thought that we may finish today when we loaded the boat, 25 days at sea. We were wrong as we are still out here. We loaded 25 days of food, water, gas, diesel and all the essential items. As we have been doing lots of driving our diesel is going to be tight but just fine.  Food and water we have lots of left but the gas we are a bit short on. We have one bottle left in the spares bag so we have been rationing tea and cooking together.

We are pushing hard as we have Setin and SNBSN so close to us. We have to becareful with our sail choices and keep our pink spinaker in tact all the way to the finish line….

Here is a peom my Mum wrote for us a few days ago:
Did you stop to think
When the colour pink
Made you go crazy
But you weren’t lazy
When it needed a stitch
What a pity, such a glitch
Stitch and glue, stitch and glue
You know who
Not so much fun
But had to be done
Lets hope it holds
In between the folds
Until the race end
At Itajai my friend
Will it pay
I cannot say
To creep up the shore
What’s in store?
Or out to sea
Or in the lea?
We wish you luck
The wind will suck
You along, along, along!

16th November 2015 TJV Concise 2 Blog

16th November 2015 Concise 2 blog

At lunch time today I put the final stitch into our huge pink spinnaker. At an estimation I have completed 43 metres of stitching to make this repair, which include sticking and sewing along the tear lines and then covering this with sticky dacron and sewing the edges of the sticky dacron. It is not going to be pretty when it goes up, some sort of hideous halloween mask gone wrong in pink. But all hopes are pinned on it staying together and getting us to the end of the race. In total I have spent over 16 hours fixing this spinnaker while Pips has been in charge of sailing the boat at least if we use it and it blows up we can say we did everything to get this show back on the road.  The haggard ends of my fingers from pushing and pulling the needle through the material are testament to this effort.

The drag race meanwhile continues down the Brazilian coast and today fortune does not appear to be on our side we are about 20 miles further inshore than the rest of the pack and no matter what we do have been a knot slower than them all day, I guess we just have less wind.   Like this the miles are creeping off our lead and we are being forced to play it out and hope things will get better soon.

We can’t quite see the coast but the waters around us are starting to fill up with other vessels (well fill relatively to a big empty ocean and seeing no sign of life for days) tonight and from now on we will have to be extra vigilant for the Brazilian fishing boats one of which I have had to dodge today already.

Our routing is currently showing the wind finally freeing us up enough to use the spinnaker at some point later this afternoon or this evening. This will be a tricky transition for us and we need to set some parameters about how far we are going to push the hideous pink creation which will be tough.  What we really want to do is stay in the game and to do that we need to use the sail in the same way everyone else around us will be using theirs – it will be hard to hold off hoisting if conditions are marginal and we know it will make a difference. So what is the strategy to be? sensible sailing and hope for the best or go for broke with the risk of failing in a bright pink blaze of glory…. that decision hasn’t been officially made yet but as I feel the pain through the ends of my fingers with every keyboard stroke I know which way I am leaning.

Pip with Pips

 

Concise 2 Blog 15 November 2015

15th November 2015  Concise 2 Blog

We have definitely now entered the drag race phase of the Transat Jacques Vabre.  Our routing shows us a 949nm straight line south, with little variation in wind direction along the track.

There is only one tactic here, put up as much sail as you possibly dare and then keep steering hard, he who breaks boat, sails, crew or bottles out loses. That is a lot of pressure on over a near 1000 mile track, and with our competitors just a stones throw away from us on the water the heat is on to stay in the game. It’ll be interesting to see how this all pans out.  Theoretically the 3rd generation boats should show us their heels now and we will be pretty powerless, literally, to stay in touch with them. Groupe Setin are our closest rival now, being a similar aged boat but even then who has the most power at their fingertips will also rely on what sails we each have onboard to cover this wind range. At the moment we are pushing it with the biggest sails we can, there is water flying everywhere and during the gusts the boat is trying to wrestle itself from our control. Conventional seamanship at this stage is screaming at us to take some sail down but putting in a reef though
leading to a much more manageable boat also loses us a knot of boat speed so we need to lock in for the wild ride.

Meanwhile in the sweatbox down below the big spinnaker repairs are coming along. I have been steering in the morning and sewing in the afternoon, the sewing is harder going than the steering, it is so hot down below my head starts to go foggy quite quickly and my eyes smart from starring at that garish pink for hours at a time.  I will have an estimate of how many metres of sewing I will have completed at the end.  Answers on a postcard?

Along with our on the water race we are now racing against time to get in as fast as possible.  We received news yesterday that the cargo ship which is supposed to be taking Concise 2 back to the UK will be loading on the 24th.  Current routing does not put us there on the 24th and this ship may well be steaming out of the harbour as we are crossing the finish line.  We are trying not to get stressed about this situation now as the 24th is still a long day off, though seldom have I known routing to go down in time.

We are running low on cooking gas onboard now too so are starting to come up with ingenious ways to cook our food.  We tried making porridge on the engine with not much luck but are going to have a stab at heating ready cooked packet of rice and stew on there tonight.

At the moment we are barrelling along with great speed towards the Brazilian coast which we will converge with tomorrow.  We can feel the presence of the other boats, it is making me nervous with the competition still being so hot and when I am not steering every other glance is a furtive one at the instruments to check our progress.  Only four days of this intense pressure to deal with..

 

14 November report for TJV race committee: Crossing the Equator

What more could you want than blue seas, blue skies, 15 knots of wind and a true wind angle of 90 to 110?
Concise 2 is in her element! Gennaker, stay sail and full main as we blast across the equator. This is familiar territory for Pip and I. This is my 3rd time across the equator and Pip’s sixth time across the equator. We have both done this route before too. It is wonderful to be back in the Southern Hemisphere my home. It is hot and muggy on board but the breeze is keeping us cool.
We started today with full main and code zero. But this was not enough for Pip and I so we changed to the gennaker thinking that it was too tight but it was not. Concise 2 was happy sailing a long at 9.5 knots. This afternoon after we crossed the equator in the heat of the day and we put the stay sail up too. Our girl is moving now in the little bit of breeze we have. Pip is still sowing the spinnaker back together as I took the helm and watched the gannets. The Gannets swooped and dived for fish. The flying fish are on form as they fly in schools out from under the boat.
Today we had a look at currents and the weather to come for the final leg of the race. The Brazilian coast is not an easy place to navigate with the oil fields. So the last bit of the race is not going to be easy one at all. But today was a big tick in the box making it into the southern hemisphere once more….
Absolutely devastaing news that we all had to wake up to this morning to hear about what happened in Paris last night. I cannot understand why someone could justify doing such horrible actions. Our thoughts are with all of those that were affected as we sail across the ocean tonight.

 

Hearts and Thoughts with France

We were stunned and devastated this morning to hear of the terrible murders that were committed across Paris last night. That over 120 people could have gone out last night for a normal evening and been needlessly murdered is so hard to believe and why any living person could want to and feel justified in carrying out such an act is beyond comprehension. This terrorist activity is against every principle of what it is to be a human being there is no justification for the murder of innocent people.

Out here we sail, we eat, we sleep, life is stripped down and simple, we can go about our business with the total freedom that the ocean provides us and are absolutely privileged to do so. Our hearts and thoughts are with all those who have been affected by these crimes and with France.

Concise 2 Blog 13 November 2014

We have nearly been racing for three weeks and the competition is still as hot as it was at the start. Within our own little pack there have been multiple changes of position over the last three days and slowly but surely we are all aiming for the same bit of water and to arrive within a few hours of each other.

It is hard to believe that we still have 2000 miles of this race to go, it feels like the equator is moving away from us as fast as we can chase it. There is still so much more sailing to do.

The last couple of days have been tough, come to think of it this whole race to date has been tough, but coming through the ITCZ is always a challenge and this time was no exception. We burst our way out of the NE trades on Wednesday morning and sailed straight into a wall of impenetrable black and brooding cloud. The light all around was dull and ominous and the wind dropped to nothing, during the rest of the day, each new head of cloud brought it’s own breeze and had us chasing off in different directions, or once even doing a full 360 to absolutely no avail. As night fell it started to rain and blow from the east under a total heavy covering of cloud.

There followed a hideous night of continuous driving rain, mixed up sloppy sea states and wind blowing between 20 and 35 knots.The cloud cover was so dense and so complete that all form or nuance of shade or shape had been removed from our surroundings, you could see nothing at all outside the boat, balancing was impossible as you had no idea of when waves were coming or gusts of wind. It was like sailing with a blind fold on. The night seemed never ending, requiring reefs in and out continuously and all to the beat of the driving rain. At 6am I started to look longingly west for any sign at all of the dawn. Eventually the world turned grey, then blue and we sailed out into an equally murky day but what appeared to be the start of the south east trade winds.

we are further west than the rest of our pack and during the last couple of days have managed to climb from the bottom of the pack to the top, as different teams paid their dues to the doldrums.Today is the first day we have seen the sun in a few and this morning a neat little line of cumulus presented themselves on the horizon, then made their way towards us carrying the new trade winds. The pack of chasing boats is now settled and we are in a white sail drag race to the Brazilian hump off Recife before we drop south. We are desperately trying to hold off the chasing boats but the are coming in at a faster angle and with every position report the take a little it more out of us; our only hope is we hang onto them until we are all in the same patch of water when our courses converge and then the race can begin again.

In of watch time I am frantically sewing up the spinnaker.This sail is going to be vital further down the track and so I have decided to reinforce everyone of the sticky repairs by sewing round the edges. i estimate there is around 12 further hours of sewing to get through, I have already done 6. My fingers are a mess of needle marks. It reminds me a lot of my first single handed voyage across the Atlantic when my sails were so old I had to sew them back together every morning. Times don’t change.

Concise 2 Blog, 10 November 2015 Spinnaker Saga

10th November 2015
Subject: blog Concise 2

Today we have been dealing with the consequences of an overnight disaster in our little world; we ripped our big spinnaker in half!
It happened in quite an innocuous way, the wind had been moderate but nothing special, the sea the same. It was dark with no moon so you could not see the waves on the water but just about make out the outline of the spinnaker with the strips of glow fast showing the shape of the leading edge.

We were both on deck about to change over helms, chatting perhaps not concentrating enough when a wave came from 90 degrees to the rest of the swell, and coincided with slamming into the side of the boat at the same time as we had finished coming off surfing a different wave. The force of the wave hitting us on the side spun us round into a broach leaving us on our side before sheets could be eased. The spinnaker flogged twice before we were able to gain control of the boat and bring it upright again, by which time we could see something was wrong. The sail had torn almost exactly in half with a diagonal rip starting two thirds of the way up the leading edge and finishing at the clew. Oh Dear! or words to that effect.

There was nothing really to say or do other than take the sail down and replace it with the gennaker which has been holding the fort in its absence ever since.

Ripping this sail is a killer blow, it is a vital component to our sail plan offering our largest down wind sail area and we should have been using it all day today and for many other days in the future not least of which the final approaches into Itajai. Without this sail we are not able to sail to our target speeds in the lower wind ranges, we are down the pan.

By the time daylight came we realised we had to try and fix the spinnaker and following an inspection of the damage decided where there’s sticky stuff there’s hope and set about patching it back together using spray on glue, sticky back Dacron, Kevlar patches for the clew and a good old fashioned needle and thread. It was a mammoth task, we set the sail out in the bow of the boat, it was unbelievably hot and there was water slopping around that had come in with the spinnaker foot which ended up in the water when we dropped. The boat despite being under gennaker was still bucking around on the waves, making it all quite difficult to find a dry flat surface, lay out two matching parts of the kite and then stick them together.

There followed five hours of what can best be described as Bikram yoga meets Blue Peter where I contorted my body into all sorts of shapes to pin and hold bits of spinnaker while bracing against the roll of the boat, while Pips cut strips of Dacron, we sprayed glue and stuck bits together all in an excruciatingly hot and wet environment. The piece de resistance was the clew which had partially ripped into the reinforcement and was put back together with some Kevlar patches and Dr Sails epoxy glue which says it works in the wet.

We pushed the boat as hard as we could today with the sails we had but despite slowly reeling in Groupe Setin and Zetra the 6th and 7th place boats we lost our 8th place to Espoir Competition in the 1500 position report, which is not surprising really, it has been perfect A2 spinnaker conditions and assuming they still have the full sail inventory we were there for the taking, limping along under powered.

By sunset we had put the kite back together again and were ready for a test. We hoisted and then gingerly raised the sock to let the spinnaker out and I was half expecting to see all of the patches pull apart one by one as the wind hit the sail but it held. I couldn’t stop laughing looking at the giant pink hedkandi branded spinnaker which now has a jagged white scar slashed through the middle of it. But it worked.

We kept it up for an hour or so and then just when it was dark hear a quiet pop and a zipping sound and knew we had pushed it too far, some of the repairs were coming apart. So we have again dropped the spinnaker into the forepeak and replaced it with our workhorse gennaker to make our way south through the night.

Tomorrow will be a day of more sticking and a lot of sewing to secure the sticky repairs and give the sail a chance of lasting more than a couple of nights. It is not job done by a long way but not game over either.