It’s Race day again C600

Purple Mist
Skipper: Kate Cope
Tue 21 Feb 2023 01:58

17:28.218N 62:03.551W

It’s Race day again C600

We are off again this time on the Caribbean 600 race which I like to call the Fastnet of the Caribbean

Yesterday we did the last of the preparations which was mostly storing our excess gear. Thanks to Stuart Lawrence and Nora who are taking our warm kit back home to the UK. Thanks to Grace and Richard Palmer who have their hire car boot full of excess food and spares. Thanks to Saiorse who has various kit under her bed and Lydia for helping with boat prep.

After the jobs were done we had an invite to the commodores cocktail party which was over in Galleon cove. It has a bit of a gruesome history as that is where all the dead sailors were dumped in days of old. Apparently not far under the pristine sand of the exclusive resort there are bones !

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We had a last supper in the yacht clubs where we bumped into a slightly frazzled race organising team. The race team have been putting in long hours with some boats turning up last night with literally no paperwork done for the race. As little miss organised I was smug as I was in the ‘black letters of organisation’ for this race before I left Lanzarote not the “red letters of shame” . This refers to the entry list where boat names are red when they still have paperwork to complete.

We were awoken early by the local dive team whistling and singing on the pontoon at 0630 and staring the generator. We were not amused to say the least.

After the last of the boat prep this morning Claire and I had a little dock walk to calm the nerves and say Hi to some of the other doublehanders. It still surprises me how shocked some folks are that we are doing the race Doublehanded in a small boat . It doesn’t help the nerves when folks comment how brave we are …maybe we are stupid?

Anyway 09:30 we said we would leave the pontoon so we waved bye bye and Lydia threw off the dock lines. The start was super busy with massive boats careering about , add to that a big squall pre start giving us 26kts of wind and driving rain which reduced the visibility. We went for a safe start = a bit hopeless but it was complex as other big boat classes were in the way and the race officers only called out to clear the line with 2 mins to go.
Once we were on the first beat though we had good boat speed and we short tacked up the shore of Antigua as planned to take advantage of the wind shift off the headlands. We were crossing tacks with Class 40s for a long while, The Royal Navy boat and Escapado both much higher rated.

The goal of the race is to not be last and make it in time for the final party. As we have just seen Tukiletta turn round and head back to Falmouth so I guess we are not going to be last.
We need to average 5.75 kts in a straight line to make the party. This is fairly easy to achieve on the reaching and downwind legs but impossible on the upwind legs as you need to account for the tacking back and forward. So effectively we are doing well to make 4kts VMG ie the straight line equivalent. So on the other legs we need to be fast.

We have the brand new J3 headsail up which so far is proving to be very good. Nice and flat to ride out the squalls . Wind is mostly 18-20kts but we had a squall of 30kts. It been really wet today both because we are bashing into big waves and also because it has rained a lot. We’ve both had full oilies on all day and I have my boots on to keep my feet dry. We’ve just rounded the mark off Barbuda and are finally downwind so can go back to leggings and a short sleeved top. It gets a bit hot and steamy in Oilies.

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