Although last in the fleet, decidedly wind-blown and very salty, their spirits were high and the crowd that welcomed them was buoyed by their enthusiasm
Although last in the fleet, decidedly wind-blown and very salty, their spirits were high and the crowd that welcomed them was buoyed by their enthusiasm. There were lots of hugs and kisses from boyfriends, husbands, friends and members of the fleet.
The work list is long, however. “How long do you want to listen?” quipped skipper Helena Darvelid, when asked how long the list is. “We had engine problems and no electronics right from when we left Cuxhaven.”
These are the same problems she contended with on the first leg. Add to those problems a leaking forward ballast tank that turned the forepeak into a swimming pool, and a liferaft that jumped overboard in the middle of the Dover Straits. “We had to punch a few holes in it to get it back onboard,” she explained.
Darvelid said, “From the start we had no boat speed [indicator] or wind direction so we had to do everything by heel and feel.”
For young navigator Aimee Neale, it was a difficult introduction into Open 60 ocean racing. “We did all the navigation by hand. The autopilot didn’t work, nothing worked, except a GPS. So every 20 minutes we had to plot our course [on paper charts] so we knew where we were all the time.”
She was ecstatic talking about the crew. “It was great, everyone helped as I couldn’t do it all myself, it was just too big a job.”
“You should see the charts,” chimed in Pajkowska. “They are a big, soggy mass of paper.”
Physically the girls fared well, except for Carol Archer, who is sporting a very black eye she sustained while on the bow carrying out a repair. “It’s difficult to have one of your crew go up [forward] in these conditions,” Darvelid noted. “I was helming at the time. I want to be in control when someone else has to do this sort of thing.” Fortunately, the bruise appears worse than the injury and Archer reported she is fine.
AlphaGraphics started the race well, and for a significant time was up with the leaders. But as Darvelid acknowledged in the radio call this morning, they missed a tide gate and from then on, they were unable to make up the lost time and distance.
With less than 48 hours before the start, the crew won’t have much time to rest; before the boat was even tied up securely, their shore crew was onboard starting the repairs.
“We have a brilliant shore crew,” Neale enthused. “They’ve already asked for my laundry!”