Racing re-started on Saturday, Puma took an early, lead Ericsson 3 were the first to break gear and then the wind shut down…
‘We are leaving with a vengeance!’ wrote Puma skipper Ken Read. ‘I am actually struggling to write this note because we’re getting thrown around the boat like a pair of dice hitting a craps table. Our start couldn’t have been better- gorgeous day and a quick lead for the fine yacht ‘il mostro’. But it didn’t last long?the infamous wind hole under Table Mountain played her tricks on us and we went from having a large lead to being stuck in a glue pot watching a few others sail by. We had a strategy- expecting the hole, but the strategy to get offshore quickly didn’t exactly work to plan. Anyway, after a gorgeous beat down the coast with eight Volvo 70’s tacking along the mountains in 20-25 knots of wind, we caught up with the race leader E3 just at sunset right off Cape Point. A great day if you liked to sail.
Also as anticipated, the night brought a shift in the weather and a chance to get across a ridge into the Southern Ocean westerlies being carried by a large low pressure system coming from the west. Well we did it. A morning check in with E4 about a half mile from us (no shocker!) and a building breeze led us to where we are now. Careening down waves in 27 knots of breeze against 2 plus knots of current called the Agulhas Current, trying to write this note. And, it’s a bit moist on deck?nasty right now actually.
One small issue on board is a bit of a flu that has taken hold- not very much fun for a few of us. And the great news for the rest of the group is they can almost be guaranteed to get the cold eventually, based on the unavoidable hygiene on a lovely V-70 petri dish. Which is why this may be one of the more bland notes you will (hopefully) read from il mostro. I need some more Advil! My head is killing me, and it’s not just the flu. I just smashed it into a winch structure under deck getting my foul weather gear off. You would think that I would know it was there by now!
Leading the fleet by Monday morning, Ericsson 3 were showing once again that they have no intention of being the teams ‘B’ boat. But while the team enjoyed a narrow leading margin over the rest f the fleet, things hadn’t been that stratightforward.
‘No one that was watching the Cape Town start from a boat will never ever forget it,’ wrote Gustav Morin. ‘It was like experiencing the whole first leg in one hour. We had everything from 25 knots to almost no wind at all. The fleet was a bit separated after 25 minutes, but then we went into a big light spot, just outside the harbour, in the wind shadow from Table Mountain. It felt like a mini Doldrums where anything could happen.
And things were really happening. But mostly before the ‘Doldrums’. From our perspective, not everything went very smoothly. Our jib got caught on the radar in one of the first tacks and got a small rip. The sail was not the most irritating part, but the fact that the radar was hanging on a thread. It was about to get even worse.
In the third tack, the sail got caught again and ripped badly. At the same time, the radar fell down in the cockpit. Not a very nice feeling when you are heading for the Southern Ocean and later up to India, passing the equator where big squalls are very common and the radar can guide you through them.
Well, on the lucky side is that no one was hit and that we managed to stay in the race. Hopefully we can fix it. According to Jens Dolmer, our hard working handyman, it is possible.
The sail has already been fixed. Skipper Anders Lewander and Martin Stromberg started repairing straight away and finished a couple of hours later. It was quite a big rip and the sail will never be as good as it was, but pretty close to it, the guys did a great job.
Now I’m sitting in the darkness beside the media desk. It is very hard to stay awake before you get use to rhythm onboard. I don’t know how many times I have fallen asleep during the time I’ve been writing. I always wake up in a few seconds with the screen full of letters, which I have pushed in my sleep.
Gustav Morin – MCM