With the lighthouse and the worst of the weather behind us, we were treated to nature at its finest, the milkyway framed by the dark opaque clouds that gave rise to a stunning sun rise (sorry the photo doesn’t do it justice…)
At Start Point/Salcombe we could crack off just enough to make the boat leap up a gear towards Eddystone Rock and meant we could round it before our stomaches yearned for breakfast, saying that my stomach is never quiet when it comes to food…
Once we rounded the rock and cracked off to a more comfortable angle, downwind we noticed that the 2nd batten had broken loose from its housing and was now protruding precariously forwards which would mean each hoist and drop will be done in extreme caution! Back around Start Point we could pop the A4 for some WET and WILD rides with the wind gusting back up to 35+kts and substantial waves! Although we were grinning and whooping with joy, both of us were concerned and wore faces of stone when at the helm surfing down waves at over 15kts (max speed was 20.3kts!!) We were absolutely flying downwind catching loads of boats who had weathered the storm better than us so when the time came to drop the kite so that we could have a better angle around Portland and St Alban’s (until we realised that we could get the A3 up and power through the remaining few hours)
Excitement wasn’t over though, whilst we had been flying downwind the batten had made its way further out the pocket and meant that there was no way we could tack a jib without putting a hole through either sail. So… how many people have been up a mast whilst at sea, racing, double handed… It was exciting!! Frustratingly the batten had wedged itself against the mast and took some wiggling to get out, eventually, after much wiggling and occasional grumbling it was free and very gently Ian lowered me to the deck! I have to say, the views even atop a 15.7m mast was spectacular, almost surreal… Hopefully the video that will follow will do it justice!
Mother nature wasn’t finished with us though as she turned down the wind and was about to turn the current as we rounded Hurst Castle… Complete contrast to 24hrs earlier we were almost struggling to cross the line at the end. So at 1914 we crossed the line and had a slight scare with a dead engine battery but all was fine using the main battery to start the engine, IT WAS CLOSE!!
I dare say Ian’s sequence of events wasn’t much different after we packed the boat away (during which an irate harbour master told us we parked in the wrong spot, not something you want to hear after little sleep but we stayed put after he noticed RARE was Pink!!) we headed home and completely crashed out.
Looking forward to the De Guingand Bowl on the 7th of June! Hopefully everything will go smoother than this race!
Our results can be seen here: