And they're OFF!!

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Sun 18 Oct 2009 17:02
Well we finally got underway - about 34 boats, with some going south to Rio when we reach Brazil and others joining us that went south last year, to do the Amazon section this year. A great bunch of like minded sailors and communication is fun with English, French, Dutch, Flemish, German, Spanish and of course Potugese being spoken on the pontoon, so a simple "Good Morning" is actually quite a complex minefield.

With all their boat jobs completed, generators repaired and replaced, new forestays, boats lifted for rudder repairs and factory visits from NautiCat and Amel to service new boats all departed together. We had a great party to send us off Friday night, with local dancers and 13 yr old Rachel of Quand Meme III playing the most beautiful violin set.

The start was scheduled at 1500 then at 1300, whilst having lunch, it was changed to 1400 but eventually we started at 1605, all safely away. We were in mid position into the first mark and making ground, but on the turn the wind died and we furiously went from gybe to gybe, even goose winging to find some power out of the turn, with many boats starting their engines. As we sailed away from the island we got clean wind and hoisted "Big Blue" our cruising chute and romped away to join the leading group even overtaking catamarans (I thought they were supposed to be fast - Hmm maybe not so interesting)

As we approached the leading group we were faced with overtaking a Afri-Cat and a Hallberg Rassey 46, but couldn't easily make the angle to pass so we got squeezed between the boats, being windward and overtaking means I got no special privileges, but our Big Blue objetced, collapsed and wrapped itself aroung the foresaty, to the horror of the Afri-Cat crew.

So it's a good job Suzanne is strong, - we had to drop the chute without snuffing it, wrestle 150 sq m of it onto the foredeck, keep it from going overboard, untangle the twist, untangle the lines, re-snuff it and get the spinnaker halyard unwrapped from around the top of the forestay - while still sailing! It took us about an hour and we were knackered and had lost about 3M - Oh sorry just remebered "It is not a race" we have been told.

Anyway after sailing with the genoa for a bit we re-hoisted and sucess - off again to catch the leaders (without racing)

Best Regards

David & Suzanne Chappell

Moody 49 "Suzie Too"