Sir Robin's and the Route du Rhum

Monday, November 03, 2014

"A grey sea, overcast, light drizzle and a WSW'ly Force 5 greeted me at dawn this morning. I am currently 40 miles from Ushant and debating whether to take the inner side of the Traffic separation zone. Currently making 6-7 knots. Could do more if I put up more sail but we'll stay like this for the time being, as the wind is still 20 plus knots and gusting higher, just had one of 29 knots and the sea very lumpy It’s a long race, and no point in breaking things at the beginning I made a very cautious start. Simon was with me until half an hour before when Bob Escoffier sent his rib to take him ashore. He has been invaluable, as was Alex.

I soon found myself surrounded by 40's most of yesterday evening, pushing hard. Those boats are quick, but when the forecast squalls of 40 knots arrived I would not have wanted to be in one. Fortunately I had decided to settle in on the first night, so already had 3 reefs in the main and the storm jib set, but the boat was still pushed hard over and even with the mainsail pushed right down its track, was crashing into the waves. I saw a couple of AIS targets turn round, I think they were in the race, but it was a gear breaking situation if you did not think of the boat and try to get her comfortable. We came through without damage, except for the staysail sheets becoming amorous, and it took a dark, cold wet hour on the foredeck, often under water, sorting out the resulting snakes honeymoon.

Now typing this on a jumping boat is far from easy, as the compute often skips a letter o inserts oine you did not ask for. Boat equipmnt is designed by people sit n in warm offices with stable desks and if they can have no conception of how hard it can be to use.

I appear to have made a full recovery from the shellfish poisoning and am eating OK, but tired from the long night of the illness.

I have no idea of how the race is going. We did receive a position report for the Rhum class but I cannot work out which number I am. I am wondering how the big multis are fairing and if everyone is alright. There was some mention on Channel 16 last night but it was in fast spoken French.

C'est tout pour le moment - RKJ

Hyde Sails Ltd, Harbour Building Office A, Hamble Point Marina, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4NB

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