ARC Portugal Ca Canny - day 12 (ish)

Yacht Ca Canny
Geoff Rogers
Fri 13 Jun 2014 00:44
So, after multiple requests I’ve been persuaded to write one more blog entry. I am more than a little surprised by the enthusiasm for our regular updates but am happy to go with the flow and am glad you have enjoyed reading as I have enjoyed writing them. What you don’t realise is that its become more difficult to write them in recent days after the deck washing incident. Suffice to say that its important to ensure that all windows are closed before washing the deck especially those over the chart table (which happened to have this laptop on). Since then the computer has had a mind of its own and only decrees to wake as and when it can be bothered. Two other interesting impacts was that the screen started to display upside down (fairly easily fixed but still a pain) and the keyboard worked sporadically. Ultimately I rather suspect it’s doomed but seeing as it has the only accurate kitty record on it then it needs to keep going especially as I’m personally owed money! Ian managed to fix the keyboard issue in Bayona after a negotiation in a Chinese shop that sold fishing tackle....I’m told he was supplied with a musical keyboard and one other interesting implement before the shopkeeper got the message (in a rather Two Ronnies “Four candles” type sketch). The end result is that we have a Spanish keyboard which has some interesting additional characters on it – although the laptop still believes it’s typing English....anyway....
So I mentioned that today was to be my last “hop”....factually that’s correct but it turned out to be rather more than a hop. Please bear in mind, readers, that this is a rally and not a race. A fact that seemed to escape our skipper shortly after we had a radio message from yacht Seclusion on the rally radio channel saying “watch out behind we’re coming through”. Instantly Geoffs knuckles turned white on then helm and orders were barked to pull sheets (ropes...see earlier blog), slacken things (who knows why) and then raise the gennaker (that we’d agreed that morning that we wouldn’t need because it was all too much hassle).
For those non-yachty people (and with my lack of experience I still have at least                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       one leg firmly positioned in that camp) when you already have a headsail raised – raising another one is a non-trivial exercise. It involves working out where sheets (ropes) might be once the Genoa (headsail) has been furled and ensuring that all of the lines will not impact the to be furled headsail let alone any of the other lines etc. that might just get in the way. Then you need to furl the Genoa, attach all the lines in what you thought were the right places but now everything has moved so who knows and pull on the sheath line to unfurl the gennaker.....still following? Thought not – basically as with everything yachty the best thing is to be prepared and do stuff in advance. We hadn’t and now skipper was asking us to do this on the hoof.
Trevor (yacht Seclusion) took much delight in informing me later that he had recorded the whole episode on his camera. When probed he admitted it was only the unfurling he’d caught as everything else took too long.....say no more. Either which way we were now in an informal, but very serious, “race” with Seclusion. Barely a minute went by when I wasn’t asked how far away Seclusion was – slightly disconcerting as they were less than quarter of a mile away and I was fairly sure Geoff could see them as well as I could. Similar to the day before, there was concern in the crew that this journey could take us a lot further than the 15 miles that we were expected to do as the battled looked like it would take days to complete. It was clear that John and Trevor (yacht Seclusion) were not in the mood to come second, and neither was Geoff. Yacht Zoonie was the first to fall by the wayside as Ca Canny and Seclusion battled for domination – Bob and Barbara deciding that gybeing the gennaker around the genoa was just too much effort (and who can blame them)!
Lets pause at this moment and reflect on the situation. There were already a number of yachts (Waterval, Spirit III and Garretty to name a few) that were miles ahead. There were also a number of yachts a way behind – either because they were just enjoying the day or didn’t have the sails to get ahead, either of which is fine. So what that leaves as a conclusion is that this was a mid-league competition....and that meant it was personal. That’s when it got interesting – up until this point yacht Nikita had been happy making excellent progress without interruption going straight with the wind. Initially, Ca Canny  and Seclusion bearing down on them made no difference as they steadfastly held their course....but their skipper was unnerved. Not used to yachts in close quarters, and with Geoff steering Ca Canny within 20 feet of their stern they altered course slightly right into the path of Seclusion. Caught in an unintended pincer movement they had no option but to concede as the Geoff and John fought it out to see who would win. Infinity (Torsten and Helle), who had been steering a course so close into the coast they’d been allegedly spotted buying ice cream on the beach, pushed on ahead with their advanced sail which seemed to have some (surely illegal from a racing perspective – not that we were racing) parachute attachments and crossed the finish line in good style. All other results were too close to call with Seclusion claiming a minor victory – although this was not backed up by official statistics that showed CaCanny coming in third in her class (and thus truly whooping Seclusion – just a personal view, mind).
So, what did that all add up to? Quite simply a fantastic days sailing – a great end to the adventure for me (and Stuart and Ian on Ca Canny as well as Trevor on Seclusion). All of this swiftly followed by some on-board entertaining prior to the evenings dinner again expertly hosted by the marina in Porto. The facilities are excellent here and I’d be more than happy to return at any time.  Tomorrow involves a quick tour of a port lodge and then Ian and I have to scarper for the flight hope.
So what does it all mean? What have I got from this last couple of weeks away from loved ones? There’s potentially a long answer here talking about experience, camaraderie, fun etc. etc. but I think the overarching thing for me (and I’m distilling a lot into one thought) is – it’s possible. As someone who only completed Day Skipper two years ago and has, in the grand scheme of things, fairly little experience it’s made me realise that actually it’s all possible with care, forethought and preparation (and a good boat) – and so, as I’ve said previously, I’m looking forward to doing more and further with my family in due course.
And so this really is it now – it’s late in the early hours of Friday morning and I have a plane to catch later on! There are lots of people I’ve met, friends I’ve made, who I haven’t mentioned as this blog has been on it’s journey. The Camarinas crew have been close all the way through but there are plenty of others too. Best wishes to you all – fair winds and sail well.
Steve (Ohura) .....out.