Dakar Arrival

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Thu 5 Nov 2009 10:04
We arrived in Dakar mid morning on Monday in 7th position, but some boats had called to say they were motoring, Tog Gwen the Amel 54 had to be here to meet the Amel engineers as one of his electric winches had stopped working. During the Sunday night into Monday morning the wind died and I was reluctant to start the motor , but when we all called in on the VHF/SSB radio net all boats were motoring - so we didn't feel bad, just disappointed.

Again we beat the all the cats and even the Open 40 and the 2 Super Maramu, the boats that came in ahead were similar size to us, but had 4 crew, so probably made more sail changes than us. One of the cats, an Afri-Cat was way out in the lead, but when the wind died he had to motor and his hybrid drives only give him 3 knots, because he is running in the new and rebuilt generators - so he lost it all on the last day.

Several people came up to me and congratulated us on our performance, which in this group of sailors is very satisfying. Not bad for some guy who only started sailing about 7 years ago. I has some interesting discussions with Fidelio and Tanagra about downwind sailing with a poled out Genoa, so we have to do a few rig changes and order a pole. The "le Professeur" on Pilhoue V taught me about where to find the best currents - he is a French Yachtmaster Instructor's Instructor and has been sailing for 48 years - great guy and then with the Mini Transat guy, Jean, the benefits or not of a current from behind when sailing downwind - all good stuff. The routing was interesting as some boats went a long way west, and although they had more wind our route down the rhumb line was quicker.

Just been looking at the GRIB files for Saturday into Sine Saloum and the winds look light and variable, not so good for a heavy boats like ours - but at least we have proved that Suzie Too and her crew are good sailors