A tactical error loses Liara many miles


Well we did get through the Portland gate last night but then parked for three hours kedged. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on a race boat with 80m of chain dangling over the bow,” said watch leader Steve Branagh but at least we held which was more than could be said for those just astern who disappeared as they dragged back down tide.

The truth of it though is that (in retrospect) we blew it last night by not staying south to meet the well forecast breeze coming in from the south west. As an old mate said to me in an email just now “remember the North Sails course, if you’ve got boat speed use it to cross the course” but we’d committed ourselves to the calm. Those on land tracking the race could see our mistake – why didn’t we. Hey ho!

After our glassy calm three hours, the tide turned just as the breeze started to fill. It was a kite for a while and then in came the south westerly and we peeled to a number one genoa and then to the three to keep her on her feet.

As I write this we are just off Falmouth and we’re going to have a job weathering the Lizard as it’s naturally forecast to go north west. It’s blowing 22 knots and we’re doing nines and 10s. It’s grey and wet but afterall it’s summer hols in England. I can just make out St Anthony’s Head west of Falmouth.

But Leopard is at Land’s End at least and there’s a general mood of disappointment that we missed out last night.

On board Liara there’s a constant battle to keep wet, oilskinned crews aft and away from the beautiful main accommodation which is slowly being exposed as foam covers peels off and the carpet protectors slide to leeward. There’s more lethargy in evidence, the DVD is silent and the galley is once more coming alive to feed those 29 mouths.