+++NEWS FLASH - MINA2 ABANDONS RACE+++
+++NEWS FLASH – MINA2 ABANDONS RACE AFTER DRAMATIC SPINNAKER BLOWOUT – NEWS FLASH+++
Position: 22:00.84N 017:47.77W
Distance run since start (1515 UTC 30 Oct): 146 miles
We were scheduled to leave Dakhla for
Everything was going to plan, we were tearing along under the cruising chute at over 9 knots. We had participated for the first time on a radio net that we had informally set up for the English speaking boats and I got proof-positive that my windspeed indicator over-reads significantly. In these steady trade winds, everyone was reporting wind speed of about 17 knots and I was reading 24 knots. During the evening we crossed the Tropic of Cancer. We are now in the tropics!! After dark (well, not exactly dark, as we have a nearly full moon at the moment which is so bright you can almost read by it) we spotted a stern light flickering on the water a mile ahead. Within an hour we powered straight past “Auhema” a Beneteau 50 (longer, lighter and theoretically faster than us) like she was tied up to a dock. Brilliant! This was the life!
A little later Tom said “Isn’t the wind a little strong for the cruising chute now?” “I think you’ll find I know what I’m doing” I snapped, and then I went on to explain that the top apparent speed for the cruising chute was 18 knots and I knew now that the windspeed indicator was over-reading, so I felt comfortable keeping the chute up with the 22 knots the windspeed was showing.
At 0100 I went down below for a well-earned sleep. At
0110 Tom called out “Skipper – it’s gone – it’s gone!”. I leapt up on deck
thinking “Oh no, he’s accidentally let the sheet (rope that holds the sail) go.
More time on the naughty chair for Tom then.” Instead I came on deck to total chaos. The chute was in
the water, completely ripped to shreds and the luff tapes were flogging around
getting entangled in the rigging. The most important thing was to get the sail
back on board before it went under the boat and wrapped itself around the keel
or, worse still, the rudder. Snapping into Capt Aubrey mode I cried out “ALL
HANDS – ALL HANDS ON DECK”. It would have been much easier to have called down
One of the problems with crack racing crew like Lawrence and Tom is that they are hard men driven by the need to win, Win, WIN! When we were at the head of the fleet they were happy. But when they are not, they turn mean and ugly. Last night when I was on watch after the “incident” I heard the two of them muttering mutinously down below. By the time I had got down the companionway they had scuttled back to their pits and were pretending to sleep. I wasn’t fooled. Oh, no. Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me. I need to stamp my authority on them and stamp hard. So I’ve decided that my mean, ugly revolting crew will not get any biscuits at tea-time today. That’ll show them who’s boss.