Pre-race footage from Brisbane’s Rivergate Marina. This gives you a feel for scenes prior to the start of a race. I’m assured that Anita is there. I have watched this video several times but can’t spot her. If you can see her, please leave a comment!
To put the race into perspective, here is the race route from just south of the equator.
Henri Lloyd had a good chance of scoring a point or 2 at the compulsory scoring gate. Then we saw that they were in ninth place? What? Are they going to the right place? Backwards? Have they more problems? Eric didn’t do a skipper report for day 4 (all the other skippers did). Not a comfortable 24 hours for a Mum but no news is good news!
Today we have more news from Sarah, our Henri Lloyd crew member!
How quickly things change. When I last posted, we were sprinting optimistically for the gate, sunshine and trade-winds, just flying along with regular surfs in the high teens. We had about 24 hours of those conditions – until the first night watch the day before yesterday. I was lucky enough to have the first hour on the helm, and it was still splendid sailing, good speeds, good course, and bright moonlight. The southern cross was clear in the sky behind us – Eric reminded us we might not see it too many times more, as we will have more and more cloud cover as we go north. After that though, conditions changed, and not for the better for us. We had a ‘monsoon trough’ to negotiate – an area of light and unpredictable winds. We cycled through all the kites, as the winds got lighter and our desired sailing angle lower. There’d have been absolutely zero lifting of the skip’s hair, even if it wasn’t plastered down with salt like everybody else’s. We crawled along frustratingly slowly all night, and made hardly any progress in the right direction. THere is little more depressing than a spinnaker collapsing with every roll as you bob about, with the sails just flopping to the force of gravity rather than filling with wind. We had found ourselves on the wrong side of the wind shift, allowing the boats to the west of us to get back every mile we’d gained in the 24 hours, and more besides.
So by yesterday morning we were not a happy team – there is no question that we are here to race this time, after the frustrations of the last 2 races. But we’ll keep focusing on sailing as well as we can – especially without wind instruments, we concentrate even harder on the feel of the boat and the movement of the tell-tales – right back to basics. Anita and I were mothers yesterday, which gave us a break from the sailing. But it was HOT and STEAMY down below – and there were enough waves coming over that we had to keep all the hatches closed. The horror! But we managed a pretty good dutch day – we added some curry flavor to the split-pea soup to make it a bit more suitable for the tropics.
This morning we had a couple of big squalls – our watch did a sail change from Y2 to Y1, then put reef 1 in, shook it out, put it back, put in reef 2, shook reef 2 out, shook reef 1 out, put reef 1 back in… it was almost like doing drill in training. At the helm the horizontal rain stinging my eyes made it hard to see anything – but then the telltales were plastered to the sail anyway, so it was all about feel. At least we all got well rinsed, and a few managed a quick shampoo and rinse too.
I have EVERY confidence in Eric. He is the ONLY skipper with racing experience even though he hasn’t sailed in the current waters before. The crew sound very confident.
Anita wanted a challenge – sounds like she is in the middle of one!
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