The second leg, hard on the wind, was not without incident for Katie Miller and Matt Lingley

Read the latest blog from the crew of bluQube, after completing the second leg of the Round Britain & Ireland Race 2010:
As we sit in the Castlebay Hotel in Barra, it has been noticed that Katie is wearing the only England shirt in the bar… Also noted is the large USA flag in the corner! More notable however, is that  after two and a half days of hard core racing, bluQube is now settled onto her mooring in Castlebay Harbour.

The trip has not been without incident. Just an hour before the start of the second leg, the onboard computer chose not to function. A piece of equipment that has held fast through three different people’s campaigns, and an OSTAR, had finally decided to work no more. This was something of a conundrum for us since we relied on the computer f or weather information, chart plotting and AIS positioning.

The more we fretted about it, the more we realised we needed to get a reality check. We still had the paper charts to navigate around the West coast ofIreland and up toward Scotland. We had GPS position and a hand bearing compass, and the latest weather report. What more could we need?! So we  ploughed on, crossing the start line at 21:37 21 pretty much to the second. A light air running start brought us round ‘The Old Head of Kinsale’ and from there it was a rapid spinnaker reach all the way to the Fastnet rock.

From the Fastnet it was time to drop the kite and head up onto a fetch to clear the outlying rocks marking the southwest corner of Ireland. Once those were clear the tactics were simple, head as high as possible up the West coast of Ireland and tack on the expected wind shift. The shift was due in the early hours of Friday morning, however, as an advancing band of frontal cloud approached at 1900 it was clear the shift had arrived some hour early.

It became clear that the majority of this leg would be hard on the wind, not the most comfortable point of sail to be encountering on a Figaro. Settling into a functioning watch system was vital, as one steered and the other attempted to get some rest down below. Trying to sleep on a beanbag in conditions similar to the inside of a washing machine proved a little difficult.

Between bailing the boat, attempting to boil a schizophrenic kettle and keeping everything on the chart table, bluQube slogged on upwind making about 7 knots quite happily. No leeward ballast on this leg!

Unlike in the first leg, when there were always several sails on the horizon or in the immediate vicinity, the second leg proved something of a solitary affair. We were resigned to the fact the longer, more windward friendly yachts would make some gains on this leg, however the latest results have shown that bluQube held her own and didn’t lose too much time. We just have to hope for some serious downwind legs to the remaining stopovers!

Even as we crossed the finish line and began to think of hot showers, warm food and the England game, bluqQube we presented with one final challenge…towing in the Open 50 Wolfie’s Toy, which has lost is propeller. A task that seemed relatively simple considering the 3 day upwind bash and no real sleep!!

And so, after putting bluQube to bed on her mooring in the beautifully rugged Castle Bay, it was time to row ashore in “Wee bluQube” and arrive ashore in time for the first England World Cup match…. what a disappointment that proved to be!

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