ARC Europe Leg 2 Bermuda - Azores , 1800nm
Thu 20 May 2010 21:53
The preparation time for the voyage is over. I spent 7 days in Bermuda. The new crew Alois, Elisabeth and Klaus, all from Pinzgau Austria, arrived last Saturday. They had time to recover from the long flights and helped with the final preparation of the yacht and the provisioning for the voyage, which may take up to 14 days. Everything was ready on Tuesday. Customs  and immigration officers came to marina on Tuesday afternoon just after the Skippers meeting. It was decided to have the start in the St. George's Harbour which  is   a  round bay looking like a small lake,  a mile long and half mile wide at the extreme points. There are several rocks and  shipwrecks in the bay, so it was quite dense for the 21 yachts sailing back and forth behind the startline waiting for the rally to start. The starting time was postponed twice for 15 minutes due to cruising ships occupying the outside channel . We sent Klaus diving to fold the propeller before we set the sails.
Finally at 12:30 local time (UTC-3), we passed the starting line, quite close together, rushing towards the Town Cut, the narrow man-made passage to the outside channel. It was a fantastic view of the  boats sailing at 7 knots through the 50m wide canal, 2 or 3 in parallel.
Once outside of the reef, the group started to spread. Many took the northern route where the winds are quite strong with lows travelling to the east. Since I have rather inexperienced crew, I decided to go along the rhumb line, where I hope that the sailing will be much more comfortable.
About one hour after the start we had an unpleasant situation. We were overtaking Janana with a distance of 50 meter on their leeward side. They
started moving towards us and  coming close to us they took the wind away with their sails. We slowed down and decided to overtake them on their 
windward side, taking at least 100m of distance. As we were approaching them they turned towards us and cut  our way  at the distance of less then a meter between their stern und our bow. I immediatelly engaged the reverse gear of the motor which was still running idle to prevent the accident. They started shouting at us and lost the control of their boat and made a circle. This type of behaviour should not happen on a tourist rally.
The result was that we could not fold our propeller and after several unsuccesful tries Klaus jumped into the water and folded it. With all this exercise we lost about half an hour . I will not mention where that crew comes from to avoid being accused of antisemi...
During the night we could still see the lights of 6 boats, but in the morning we were alone on the ocean. We made 165 nm in the first 24 hours, which is quite good considering the light winds  (SSW 3-4). We were sailing with full main and working jib, which is 30% smaller than genua, now stowed away under the table in the saloon.
We could do normal cooking while the autopilot was steering the yacht. The T-bone steaks were cut pretty big so I could grill only one at a time. The sides were rice and  3 hearts of Romaine salad  with the tasty Italian dressing.
The night watches went well. One team is Alois and his daughter Elisabeth, the other is Klaus and me. We are all healthy and in a good mood looking forward for this new experience.