After a fantastic break from sailing, we had to be on the boat ridiculously early, like half past six, so that we could leave at about 11am! It was so early to let the immigration officials get an early start, and did mean that we could get a last breakfast in the marina cafe, use a flushing toilet, and buy any last-minute treats for the journey. Between us we were well loaded up on chocolate, fruit, biscuits, cheese and chocolate. With the crews of all 12 boats doing the same thing, the local supermarket must have wondered what had hit it!
Like in Brisbane, the start was planned to be a Le Mans start offshore, once we had motored away from the ship car park right outside Singapore. However, it was getting dark by the time we found somewhere safe to start the race. Starting in the dark is not safe though, so we all continued motoring till the next morning.
The next morning dawned and by 0730 all 12 of us were lined up ready for the start, with the prescribed sail plan. Mum’s description is not quite right, though funny! We start with all competitors sailing on a chosen course under the mainsail alone, the engine having been switched off a few minutes before. The staysail and whatever Yankee has been chosen for the start are on deck, attached to the correct forestay and should be ready to be hoisted.
The crew (us) need to be behind the main coffee grinder – the popular name for the contraption we use to power the big winch that controls the mainsheet. We will all have assigned tasks to perform when the race starts. Hopefully the tasks combine to your boat sailing under main, staysail and Yankee the soonest. That sail combination and course then need to remain for the next 10 minutes.
After a good start with us in 2nd, the next scheds, or position reports, came as a bit of a shock. We had dropped to 9th. Knowing that the race was due to be quite short – in comparison with an ocean crossing I guess – we spent the next few days treating the race as an ocean sprint. I’ve not done one of these yet, but if that bit is anything to go by, you work really hard. I did not blog at all during those days. Every waking moment is spent concentrating on your speed, the helm, getting the most out of the boat.
After a few days, the scheds were looking better and Eric and the watch leaders more relaxed.
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