Leg 1 Completed!

Tim Vaughan
Thu 13 Jun 2019 07:38
Wednesday 12th June 23:00 (still looking days/dates up)

Whoop Whoop, I finished Leg 1 and wasn’t last in! (In fact, I did alright coming 5th in class and 23rd out of 34 boats over the line but, ahem, if you remember I wasn’t racing.......)

There were 10 retirees and commiserations to go out to the skippers of those boats who experienced problems. The main thing is that all are safe.

The last few hours of the race were surprisingly tough, mainly because the wind went light and I needed all my concentration to keep the boat moving in something like the right direction. I was keen to have a good finish but was pretty knackered.

Approaching San Miguel at first light was an awesome sight with steep cliffs topped with dark clouds. I decided to go fairly close in to have a closer look and see if I could pick up any wind to take me to the finish. As luck would have it, I did and all that was left was to gybe down the coast to the finish line.

I could see Arethusa of Yealm up ahead but wasn’t going to catch her and Noon Hi was a long way behind me so no need to worry, or so I thought. Well I’m not sure what went wrong but, in the downwind conditions the boat slowed and I couldn’t keep her going at anything like the right speed. Also, my gybe angle was a lot bigger than I would have liked meaning I was having to cover more ground.

Meanwhile, behind me on AIS, I could see Noon Hi having a cracking run, probably under spinnaker and catching me up fast. In fact too fast for my liking so I started trying harder but there was no improvement to my speed. I started measuring the distance to go and how far away Noon Hi was, and it looked like they might actually catch me up, To make maters worse I could now see them, a tiny speck on the horizon which was getting bigger all the time. Bigger and bigger the speck became and there, for all to see was the spinnaker, powering the boat directly to the finishing line, ahead of me if I wasn’t careful.

I had no choice but to keep gybing and finally got Samaritan going and, after what seemed ages, made my final approach towards the finish line from about 3 miles out. As I got half way in I now appeared to now be neck and neck with spinnaker boat. I’d thrown a place away I thought to myself glumly and tried to tell myself it didn’t matter as I wasn’t racing......

But I then twigged that something wasn’t right and went down to check on AIS what was going on. There was Noon Hi still some 6 miles behind meaning that the boat I had been, ahem, racing was nothing to do with race. As if to confirm matters, he duly dropped his spinnaker, puts his engine on and buggered off in a different direction leaving me to enjoy the last few minutes of the leg. Noon Hi finished an hour later and really did have a cracking run in but, thank you spinnaker boat you kept me on my toes.

It’s all been a bit of a blur since, with great company and plenty of food, drink and oh, not to mention, a big comfortable hotel bed. Spent today washing down the boat and re-stowing all the food for Leg 2. The boat is in good shape for going home.

Off Whale watching tomorrow, hoping to see some big ones, but not on Samaritan.