Day 0 - We are racing
Skippers: Kate Cope / Claire Dresser
Mon 9 Jan 2023 10:54
Day 0 - We are racing
Well after 1 year of planning over 400 jobs on the “To Do” list we started racing at 14:10 today.
The start time was very civilised meaning we didn’t have to get up particularly early. We stowed the last few items and set off from Puerto Calero at 10:30. We had quite a send off party on the pontoon as we had Jeremy and Emily who had been helping us all week, then Richard Palmer who had given us some great last minute tips on Expedition - this is the software that helps tell you the best route to take. Gerard our French boat neighbour from St Malo was scrubbing the last dirty footprints from the deck so we looked spic and span for the photos! Then Nancy and Steve who Jeremy knows with a boat in Lanzarote. In the end it was all quite emotional.
We motored 2hrs up the the start which was enough time to settle down and start investigating the very large snack bag.
The start area was full of “boat totty” . Everything from the massive gorgeous palace that is the Swan Jasi down to Sea Bear a SF3300 which is the same size as us.
Everyone was shouting “Good Luck “ and waving which was lovely. We even got a very loud “Allez Les Filles” ( Go Girls) from Pen Duick. Pen Duick is a big Ketch and its next race is a Round the World !
My start tactic was going to be to just safely make the line without trying too hard to be first. However I felt very calm and in control and frankly in only 8kts of wind everything is slow anyway so I did what they call a Port flyer. Now dinghy sailors are allergic to this move and have to start on starboard tack as you have to give way when you are on port tack. However as I’ve never raced a dingy ….excepting a sunsail regatta in a pico and another Sunsail Doublehanded dinghy race with Fiona that involved using a shoe to bail out the boat at the leeward mark after I forgot to replace the centreboard ! ….then port flyers work for me …especially if you get ahead of the others . So I was pretty much in an area on my own prestart. I did have the 3 huge Multihulls milling about which was slightly dodgy as they are massive. Anyway I got a great run up and hit the line on the gun only having to dodge behind “Buckingham Palace in the water” Jasi. The spinnaker hoist was perfect right in front of the committee boat and I understand from comments it was all on the live feed camera …thank goodness for that. Shame they kept calling us Sea Mist on the live commentary, when there are only 20 boats in the race it shouldn’t be that hard to get the names right …we tested ourselves and could name 18 boats and we haven’t even been in the same marina or being paid to be a commentator.
So all was good , we were off downwind , sun was shining and we both felt great.
The next mark was set to be just off Puerto Calero Marina to enable spectators in boats to moor up and watch us pass. We needed a few gybes to make it and we knew we were rusty on this manoeuvre so chose to do the first one well away from any cameras. Good job as it turned into a bit of a mess. Spi pole was upside down …my fault .. guys were set up wrong ..we had both checked them. The saving grace was the wind was 7kts so Purple Mist just patiently sat there not doubt thinking “I’ve got to get these two plonkers across the Atlantic” whilst we sorted out lines , poles and eventually got going again. The main downside was Sea Bear took the inshore route here and got past us.
Anyway into the mark and our next gybe under the glare of cameras and celebrities like Pip Hare was pretty much perfect. The Purple Mist support team had found a rib so we’re buzzing along beside us for a while taking photos.
Then all too soon we left the cheering spectators and the next face we see will be in Grenada.
The rest of the sailing has been straightforward we’ve been on the big Spinnaker S2 since the start . Despite saying we would take it down if it hit 20kts more than once it’s still up. After we went though the gap between Lanzarote and Fuertaventura the wind suddenly increased and shifted direction so we do have 15-18kts and it has drifted above 20kts quite a few times.
On the jobs list so far Purple Mist has been very kind, more like small challenges for me - 1 frozen Triton screen, tiller adjust needed tightening and one broken elastic that stops the main sheet fouling the tillers. An example of how very small things can escalate is when the elastic breaks the main sheet it wraps on the tillers meaning it’s hard to steer and I don’t think the autopilot would cope. Of course this always happens when Claire is asleep so you have to quickly dive to the other tiller whilst the boat is naturally drifting up to wind, unwrap the rope and steer back on course before the spinnaker broaches. It was achieved but not without Claire being awoken by the crazy motion of the boat and a lot of flapping.
Anyway at the moment the wind is an ideal 18kts , we have the big kite up which is at the top of its range but the funny thing is warm wind is less dense than cold wind in the UK so it doesn’t feel overpowered at all. It’s even hit 21kts and she just goes faster !
We’ve Sea Bear in sight (1.6Nm) and Claire has just very cleverly overtaken EHO1 which is a bigger boat …though stuffed to the gunnels with people and has an outboard hanging off the back so presumably a dinghy onboard. This is noted as we don’t have any dinghy to get ashore from Caribbean moorings!
Final word should go to our position . Amazingly as we hit the gap between the islands we were in first place. Thanks to Gavin for capturing the moment I’m a picture I expect now we have more wind the biggest boats will be doing better - especially as they got to the new wind first …but for a few hours at least Purple Mist was the champion!
I will send pictures on the next message as this will need to go via Sat Comms