Dear Team Maverick Fans,
I am sure you have some questions.....
I left you on day 11 with the potential for having to go dead ship. The good news is that we managed to reset the alternator brain and put the spare blades in the hydro-generator. Good news.
Right I am going to talk about the "daisy chain" of events that has led to us being slower than we hoped and really close to losing out to Leopard for Class win. At one stage we thought that this would be reasonably straightforward. This is yacht racing however and nothing is ever easy and while this might be frustrating now it is why we love it.
Event 1. We lost the tack on the A2. This was not our fault, we are still not sure why it failed. The failure is so perfect it could have been done with scissors. The frustrating thing is I had been saving this kite for this event so it had only been flown a few times in trials and corporates. It had not been used out of range and when we lost it we were not abusing it!
Event 2. We lost the A1.5 The A1.5 was meant to be a spare to the A2. However it had been used hugely out of its range in the Rolex Giralia Cup race and as a result I elected to used this kite in deliveries etc. It had done a lot more hours but was in good nick. Unfortunately just as a crew member had gone off deck to wake up the next watch we had a wave induced slow down followed by a large wave grabbing the stern and a 25kt gust.This induced a broach that I was not able to stop on the helm. Sean did his best to ease the kite sheet and the main sheet at the same time. One flog and it was all over the kite had a big rip in it. This was the first broach in a long long time and it just coincided with a watch change. Bad luck.
Event 3. Pinch in the (FRO). With the A2 and A1.5 dead we elected to go to our FRO (Fractional Code 0) this deployed fine but after a furl gybe it developed a "pinch"
A "pinch" is where a furling sail grabs a bit of the sail prematurely and furls one part in the opposite direction to the majority. This means that you cam't get the whole thing to unfurl. We have used this sail a lot and never had this problem. We are not sure why it has started happening but we mannaged to clear relatively easily the first pinch but had to take the FRO down on the deck to clear a double "pinch" the next time.
Event 4: Missing bowsprit pin. While driving the yacht hard I felt that she was sailing a little bow down. I got Kees to go inspect the crash bulkhead. His first impression was "oh no did not know we had a light in here" The 2 inch stainless pin that attaches the bowsprit to the yacht was somehow missing. We immediately furled the FRO and set about a solution, both to help the structure and secondly to stop the water coming in. We improvised a fix with a winch handle and a shammy.
Event 5. The need for an A2. Unfortunately as I sit here and write this we are not getting the best out of Maverick. We are taking it a bit gingerly on STBD tack but also for the past 48hrs we really have had some small gear up in the sky. She is underpowered. This is massive on this yacht because the step change from being on the foil or not is huge.
So all in all things are good on Maverick. The crew are well and while my shoreside "to do" list is now as long as a Harrods receipt after a visit by Paris Hilton we are still averaging a little over 10kts VMG. It is going to be very tight with Leopard.
Regardless of the outcome I am very proud of my team. They have all worked incredibly hard in some physically and mentally taxing conditions. This is what makes Ocean Racing unique. It is a marathon and not a sprint. If you cannot keep the yacht together then you will not finish. As they say in order to win, first you need to finish. Maverick has given us some of the best sailing experiences of my life during this race and I will always remember them. By signing up to the RORC Transatlantic Race we knew we would be put against some of the best teams out there. We would not turn up to a knife fight with a gun so to speak. We are going to push hard right to the end. One thing this crossing has shown me is that this yacht with this team will be a force to be reckoned with in future events. Being our first ocean race we will go away and review the performance, work on the reliability and be back for more. Sometimes I forget that this yacht has only been in the water for seven months...
There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.