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Date: 10 Aug 2008 21:57:23
Title: Racing

Hello Friends                            "11:59.89N 61:45.84W"
 
George had a pleasant and successful visit to the UK, finding all the family well and managed to visit nearly everyone.Having spent a hectic two weeks visiting, he was happy to return to Grenada for a rest...
 
So we went racing !
 
We've not ever raced before, either with Blue Sky or crewing on any other boat, so we were new to the idea but we decided to join in the fun for the Carriacou Regatta, or at least the yacht racing side of it. We don't have photos of the racing as we were fairly busy, but we joined in two races. Firstly, the round the island race has a lot of boats (about 20) taking part and is open to pretty much everyone whether competitive or not. Sadly the race on 1st August was spoiled by very light winds which made progress in Blue Sky rather difficult as you can't easily shift 14 tonnes of boat in a gnat's fart. Nevertheless, after a somewhat sloppy start, we lead our class after the first hour and finished first in class though were of course knocked down to the depths of obscurity by our rating. (Being freshers, I think we were excessively honest on our boat statistics.)
 
The second day of racing had rather better winds and we thought we had a better chance. We got serious and deposited our 80 metres of anchor chain on the seabed and left the dinghy tied on to it (less weight to race). Our start went like a dream and though one of the last over the line, we were leading the fleet after only 300 metres, naturally we stole the wind from the other boats, overtaking upwind of the lot and after half a mile we were concerned about the stern of an Oyster 48 in front who'd started 5 minutes earlier... Anyway, to cut a long story short, the better winds favoured Blue Sky and we finished a quarter of an hour ahead of the next boat and came in 3rd on rating corrected timing, so honour was preserved by the receipt of a prize!
 
When not racing, we did 'dress ship' for the Festival however, so here's Blue Sky in her Sunday Best...
 
 
(and for the benefit of those viewing in Aussie-vision, yes we did colour the sky in again...)
 
Having raced for two days, we repaired to Sandy Island to watch the local boats racing on Sunday. We can very much recommend the entertainment of lying in one's hammock watching the local racers, preferably with a cold beer to hand. Again, the winds were fresh and rather too much for the smaller boats. Here's a couple going through the anchorage scarcely in control, in fact the nearer boat did hit the anchored yacht a glancing blow a few seconds later...
 
 
Several boats did capsize and became awash, though being made of wood, did not sink. We went in the dinghy to the assistance of one and when a larger local boat stopped by to see what was going on, the only assistance rendered was half a bottle of rum chucked at the awash boat - and skilfully caught of course. So the old adage that when the sailors think the boat is going down, they immediately get drunk, obviously holds true to the present.
 

 
And for those who like a bit of variety in their blogs, we had a spot of trouble with our anchor windlass the other day. So moving rapidly from the sublime to the ridiculous; the windlass failed!
 
This did provide the overdue opportunity to give the electrical connections a very good clean up and grease but, having disassembled almost everything, still the windlass worked intermittently. After what can only be described as intuition, Fede decided that the problem lay in the cable for the hand held control: despite the lack of damage to the cable, jiggling produced some odd stop - start results. Amazingly we discovered what must have been a manufacturing fault with the cable as on one of the 3 leads of the double insulated cable, all the copper strands were cut inside the insulation, with no damage to the insulating layer.
 
This was eventually discovered on the autopsy, the gory details of which are...
 
 
I opened the cable along its length to find the problem; the outer insulation and two other cores were undamaged. Is this a cable fault which has survived three years and only now has pulled apart? Blog readers with a knowledge of cable manufacture, please advise ! Anyway, a quick airing of the soldering iron rapidly fixed the problem and all is now well with the added benefit of cleaned and tightened connections everywhere.
 
We're now back in Grenada for Carnival for the next two days, which we plan to observe from the comfort of the foredeck anchored in the 'lagoon' near St George's. Hopefully we'll get some entertaining photos for you.
 
Best Wishes
 
George, Michael & Fede
 

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