Its been an interesting start to the RORC Transat this year- marks to round- (or nearly miss in our case), exclusion zones to circumvent,volcanic mountains on the horizon at dawn and squalls everywhere that really packed a punch. It's been a lot for the new crew of Challenger to process on top of having to get to grips with their steed for this race- but they are having fun and throwing themselves at the task with huge energy.
Our departure from the Canaries is the start of an exciting adventure for our guest crew, for many this is their first Transat and so it has been long anticipated and will be long remembered- however our departure comes with a little sadness after enjoying the fantastic hospitality we received in Lanzarote from J.J Callero and the staff at Marina Lanzarote in Arrecife.
Our first few days at sea have been an extension of the training we began in Lanzarote- getting to know the boat, getting used to the watch system, preparing food, watch keeping, helming and trimming. Already we have shared much knowledge on sailing these bigger boats- we have been on headsails going upwind, on the Code Zero cutting across dead zones and are now on reaching sails working in very light winds to keep with our 'pace boat' on this outward leg- 'Maverick' (DSS Infiniti 46) currently 50 miles ahead of us.
Although Maverick is out of our class literally and philosophically- being a very new design incorporating DSS and a canting keel AND being crewed as she is by professionals AND weighing less than half of Challenger it makes good sport for us to try to pit ourselves against them - false hope? Well maybe but it really wouldn't be the same if the greyhound was faster than the bunny right? We can only hope that once this new crew has bedded a little the weather gives us what we really need 20-25 knts anywhere other than on the nose and then Challenger could start to stretch her legs a little- then maybe we could give the bunny a scare.