When I write this we just crossed the finishing line a few hours ago, after crossing the Northern Pacific. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel, the last month was an absolute roller coaster. On one hand I am pleased to be across that line. On the other hand we are all bitterly disappointed by the outcome of this race. I know, wind holes and technical issues are part of sailing and make it interesting. But the happenings during the days before the finish were just too much of a mental challenge.
From good to bad
Let me recap: A few days ago we were chasing the three leading boats, with a comfortable distance to the boats behind us. Over a few days we were again and again the fastest boat in the 6-hourly position reports. Material damage, marginal. We were highly motivated, believing in another podium result. Then it started with us ripping our Code 3, followed by Code 1. Both sails quit service under rather normal circumstances, most likely stress points from prior repairs made them a bit weaker.
With Code 2 we still had a sail which is a good intermediate and we were working hard on Code 3 repair. Unfortunately, then the sewing machine quit service, hence the repair of Code 3 was paused until after the race. There was a point, where all spinnakers were down due to damages, luckily Code 2 could be hoisted only after an hour repair break. So far so good, just another day at the office. Also the fact that our bowsprit (“stick” on the bow which holds the spinnaker down) came lose and made a few hours slower sailing and repair needed.
But then the real issue with our main sail track started. The track holds the main sail to the mast and was pulled off about 15m above deck. During the repair attempts over 2 days, skipper Dale dislocated his shoulder up the mast. Consequently, we had to give up further tries. After, we could only sail with a reduced sail and sailing in light and almost no wind, with a 3rd reef in, is just a few knots slower than the competition. Since that damage occurred, we were losing mile after mile. We were overtaken by luckily only 3 boats and ended up in the 7th rank.
It’s part of the game…
…and we can be happy this only happened a few days before the finish. But once we hit the wind hole just before the finish line, seeing how the first 7 boats were compressed within only ten miles, we realised that this main sail track destroyed all chances to compete with the other 6 boats for a great result in a super thrilling finish. So we were damned to be spectators as the other boats sailed their battle. Knowing our initial position in that final battle would have been much better.
Anyhow, this is sport, would have, should have… but still, we are disappointed. And late.
Last night, sitting in 2 knots of wind, I said this blog will be my therapy. The text would initially have 3000 words, before cutting all the f-words out which will bring it down to 300 words. Still not sure how my feelings are, but at least the wind hole frustration is gone. Also, I did not need any therapy or f-word cutting today, I am rather on the happy, or better relieved side. Looking very much forward to an interesting stopover, and most important to me, seeing my parents.