Maverick GBR4945R Skipper Day 6 Blog

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Good Morning team Maverick Fans! Welcome to day 6. Apologies that there was no blog on Day 5 but we had a bit on. The sailing went relatively to plan as per my blog on day 4. We continued to head west and the breeze built as the afternoon went on and veered onto our beam. We moved through the wardrobe until we ended upon the Jib top Genoa Staysail combo (one of our favorites on the yacht) as the wind built so did the boat speeds until we were regularly sitting in the high teens low 20's of boat speed. It was still light but I was below trying to get some sleep. I knew that I would have to pilot the yacht in the pitch dark of night. Just before dusk we played with a few sail settings (reefs etc) to try and find the optimum. Strangely we took too much sail off and the yacht lost her dynamic stability and we could not make good progress. This meant we returned to one reef and got ready. I have never had an experience like this. Regardless of the outcome of this race (which I am still hopeful will be a good one) helming a 46 ft yacht at regular speeds in excess of 20kts at night with no moon, no stars and no horizon in short sharp seas was a phenomenal experience. All I could see was the green and red hue of the navlights as it light up the huge amounts of spray. I must say thanks to Ocean Rodeo for the dry suits. They were fantastic in the supremely wet conditions and I have been living in mine for the last few days. To the now. We eventually (sooner than we hoped) had to stop foiling and go into an upwind mode as the wind veered further ahead of the front. This was forcing us north but we held our nerve and in the early morning the front went through with 34 kts of wind as its peak wind speed. Soon after we tacked over onto the other board to start heading south. Initially we were again in an upwind mode but have been slowly freed (too slowly) as the wind continues to veer. Unfortunately the wind we are now experiencing is a bit less than we hoped for and we cant quite keep Maverick on the foil. It is oscillating between 10 and 14 kts. This is not ideal as we need to foil in order to compete with the much larger yachts. We also need to make good progress south before the large developing high pressure makes things too flat. The likelihood is that we will need to work through a transition zone sometime tomorrow and we will finally be in the trades (although weak ones). In other news Piers seems to be reacting well to the cocktail of medication I have given him (other than falling over on the bow a lot). And this may seem funny but as the Hydraulic oil levels are falling more slowly as we use the keel less and Sean had a nice birthday. We have another birthday soon with Mr Kees Postma having his first birthday at sea. Down below is in pretty good shape but I am looking forward to conditions that will allow us to dry down below out. The sails collect a huge amount of water and we have to live with them down below. I'm just about to go and help Kees bail. As this yacht has no bilges if you do not bail out the water you get to live in it. Not conducive to a comfortable crossing! I have only just discovered the Expeditions foods Custard and Apple and Beef Strogonoff. They are fantastic. Anyway that is all for now peeps.... "When I'm old, i plan to look back on my life and say, 'wow, that was an adventure,' not, 'wow, i sure felt safe" Tom preston-werner Olly Out....

Leopard Blog 1st December

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

2016 rtr Leopard 01dec drone close

What a night! Almost every sail we have took a share of a battering as 80 degree windshifts and windspeeds ranging from 6 to 40 demanding at least 12 sail changes. Leopard never knew what the fuss was all about!!! Now into more stable conditions charging along at 16 to 20 knots still hoping for line honours, but the record will be won or lost by a matter of minutes. Once again the drone caused excitement reaching huge heights taking fab photos. We need to finish by 6 december at 1900 gmt, 1500 local time. After last night we all need a rum or two but will have to wait . 1500 nms to go. Long 

2016 rtr Leopard 01dec crew onboard

2016 rtr Leopard 01dec drone far

Images: © Kolja Frase

Maserati Blog 1st December - 1,000 miles to Grenada

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Average speeds of around 30 knots throughout the night with encouraging results from foiling trim: the finish-line approaches but the die is cast.

Now at the 22nd parallel north, Maserati Multi70 continues her race W/SW to the finish-line off Grenada, having spent the last 12 hours making an impressive average speed of 30 knots with peaks of 40, thanks to the L-foil and T-foil rudder on her port side. The Italian trimaran has another 1,071 nautical miles of the race left and is expected to make landfall this weekend.

Maserati Multi70 is making her way down towards Grenada, clocking up the miles in E/NE winds of between 15 and 20 knots. She and the American trimaran, Phaedo3, which is leading the race 820 miles from the finish, are following the clockwise flow of the Trade Winds around the mid-Atlantic high pressure area. Both are making speeds of between 17 and 20 knots, and are lying 250 miles apart (as of 12.00 GMT).

In this morning’s link, Giovanni Soldini analysed the progress of the race as follows:

“Morale is high aboard even though the situation is pretty clear now and there’s nothing we can do about it. Phaedo3 has built up an enormous lead that will extend still further over the coming hours. It’s a question of wind angles: the further you go west, the more the wind has an easterly component and so is more favourable for sailing to Grenada. That means Phaedo3’s position puts her at an advantage: she just has to make straight for the final waypoint but anyone behind her, like ourselves, has to gybe to make headway west.

“We tried flying downwind in a 14/15-knot wind and the results were encouraging. We are convinced that performance is superior even in these conditions. We’re continuing to record and analyse the data to establish some solid points of reference as there are so many different variables and adjustments. We’re trying to build up experience and get it recorded: it’s like trying to write a giant instruction manual.

“Otherwise all is well aboard apart from our regrets about not making the right choice at the start of the race which compromised our chance of pitting ourselves against Phaedo3 up close.”

Jeudi matin à bord Campagne de France FRA147

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Bonjour
Tirer des bords sur la "Route des Alizés" c'est pas banal... ni agréable. Aussi, comme s'il ne suffisait pas d'avoir le vent dans le nez, il faut y rajouter du courant, histoire de nous empêcher un peu plus d'aller où l'on veut.
Quand on a déjà fait cette route tout au portant et que l'on se retrouve à galérer, soit dans la calmasse, soit sous des grains idiots, soit contre des vents et des courants contraires, le tout dans une mer hachée et dure, voire même tout en même temps et son contraire en l'espace de quelques heures, on a franchement l'impression de s'être fait avoir à la lecture du prospectus. C'est un peu comme d'avoir visité le pavillon témoin, avec tout comme il faut et la deco qui va bien, et de se retrouver dans une baraque avec les murs qui se fissurent, le toit qui fuit, tout comme la plomberie d'ailleurs, et les fenètres qui ne ferment pas. Ca sent la tromperie à plein nez. Mais une fois qu'on a signé, on ne peut plus reculer. Il faut faire avec, vu qu'on n'a pas toujours les moyens de faire un procès, même si c'est très à la mode.
Donc, pour l'instant Campagne de France fait route à l'Ouest, sans pouvoir mettre de Sud dans sa direction, étant donné que le vent est Sud Ouest, mais avec même une petite tendance à être plus Sud que prévu, ce qui veut dire qu'on ne peut même pas virer pour essayer de gagner dans le Sud, sous peine de viser Dakar, et ce n'est franchement pas là où on veut aller, même si le Sénégal a, parait-il, des atouts insoupsonnés.
Bref, il faut prendre son mal en patience, tout finit par s'arranger. Les manoeuvres s'alternent entre prendre des ris dans la grand voile ou les larguer, passer du genois à la trinquette et vice versa. Le vent est tellement instable qu'on ne sait jamais comment habiller le bateau et c'est le coup classique, il suffit de prendre son parapluie pour qu'il ne pleuve pas et de l'oublier pour qu'il flotte à plein sciaux.
Ce qui est bizarre, c'est qu'on finit par s'habituer à tout. Les premières heures de près sont toujours un rappel brutal d'à quel point c'est pénible, avec le bateau qui penche, qui cogne, qui remue, le café qui se renverse et tout qui prend 3 fois plus de temps à la table à carte parce que la souris de l'ordinateur est dure à maîtriser avec les soubresauts et que les doigts tapent toujours sur les touches d'à côté de celles qu'on veut sur le clavier. Dehors, j'en parle même pas, c'est les embruns qui vous arrivent dessus dès qu'on sort la tête. Mais au bout d'un certain temps, on trouve tout ça "normal" et on fait avec. Par contre ce genre de situation passe bien au Large, mais aller faire du près dans des mers infernales, parce que peu profondes et pleines de courants forts, comme la Mer Celtique, c'est de la stupidité pure car ce sont des conditions vraiment trop casse bateaux tellement la mer est courte et brutale. Le matos est costaud, mais il ne faut peut-être pas en d
emander trop quand même...
.....
Mais que se passe-t-il? Les Dieux de la Mer, penchés sur mon épaule à lire pendant que j'écris (ce que je déteste), se seraient-ils réveillés et se seraient-ils dit "Ha, zut, on a oublié de faire tourner le vent comme on avait dit". Et voilà. Un petit coup de manette de 15 degrés à droite, ce qui est pourtant facile pour eux qui n'ont qu'à tourner la molette, et pour nous c'est une bonne oportunité pour enfin virer de bord, définitivement j'espère cette fois.
Maintenant Campagne de France tape droit dans la Mer , formée par plusieurs jours de vent de Sud. C'est pas confort, mais on va vers du mieux. Encore quelques mauvaises heures à passer et si d'ici là on n'a pas eu le cerveau qu'est tombé dans les talons à force de planter des pieux on devrait peut-être d'ici quelques jours naviguer comme c'était indiqué sur le prospectus.
A bientôt

Maverick GBR4945R Wednesday Evening

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Hello world!

Kees here, bringing you the latest from rocketship Maverick. As I sit here in Eric's office, the guys on deck are foiling at 18 kts of boat speed in 16 knots of wind. Finally we get a chance to use this boat like it was meant to!

After a few days of straightforward sailing today has been an eventful day. We started the day with the Masthead Zero, then changed to the A2 for better downwind VMG. Now we are cycling through our sail wardrobe as the breeze is shifting forward and building. We've seen the Fractional Zero for a few hours, right now its the Jib Top and Genoa Staysail combination, and sometime tonight it will be the J2 which is ready to go on deck. Hopefully these conditions will allow us to make some gains on Aragon and Leopard before we're back to a bit of upwind sailing.

Today is also Sean McCarter's birthday! He failed to mention this to any of us but fortunately Skipper Olly got a reminder email. We all celebrated with a swig of rum and the birthday boy had a 1000 calorie Chicken Korma for his birthday lunch. What more can a man wish for!

Last night we saw an enormous piece of space junk that made its way into the atmosphere, we think no more than 50 miles away. It lit up the whole boat and lasted for a number of seconds. We concluded that in space terms this classifies as a near miss and we are now space junk survivors.

After so many days, weeks, months of working on this yacht it is nice to get the chance to enjoy and learn her for more than just two or three days at a time.

Thanks for reading, Kees out.

Hello world!

Kees here, bringing you the latest from rocketship Maverick. As I sit here in Eric's office, the guys on deck are foiling at 18 kts of boat speed in 16 knots of wind. Finally we get a chance to use this boat like it was meant to!

After a few days of straightforward sailing today has been an eventful day. We started the day with the Masthead Zero, then changed to the A2 for better downwind VMG. Now we are cycling through our sail wardrobe as the breeze is shifting forward and building. We've seen the Fractional Zero for a few hours, right now its the Jib Top and Genoa Staysail combination, and sometime tonight it will be the J2 which is ready to go on deck. Hopefully these conditions will allow us to make some gains on Aragon and Leopard before we're back to a bit of upwind sailing.

Today is also Sean McCarter's birthday! He failed to mention this to any of us but fortunately Skipper Olly got a reminder email. We all celebrated with a swig of rum and the birthday boy had a 1000 calorie Chicken Korma for his birthday lunch. What more can a man wish for!

Last night we saw an enormous piece of space junk that made its way into the atmosphere, we think no more than 50 miles away. It lit up the whole boat and lasted for a number of seconds. We concluded that in space terms this classifies as a near miss and we are now space junk survivors.

After so many days, weeks, months of working on this yacht it is nice to get the chance to enjoy and learn her for more than just two or three days at a time.

Thanks for reading, Kees out.

Challenger GBR301 Wednesday Evening

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

After a decent night making steady headway alternating between headsails and the Code zero we thought life was pretty good onboard Challenger until with the coming up of the sun, the Zero started to wilt, the main started to slat and in short order we ran slap bang into the middle of a wind hole.  For those who have experience of such things let me clarify that this was not the kind of wind hole that comes complete with mill pond conditions, whistful memories and philosophical reflection- No this is was the other kind with messy rolling swell left over from what ever was blowing before and only the slap and bang of the mainsheet, wildly tipping decks and the epic frustrations of 14 people who are convinced ours is the only boat stuck in such a way.
You can just imagine their reaction when I revealed at midday that we actually were the only boat going no where. Well,here's the thing in fact as a good captain should I took a longer term view of the situation and in order to keep moral high whilst times were tough I garnished the truth with a little peck of flat out deception and just told them all the boats was equally stuck - which put everyone at ease, kept them focused on problem solving and avoided any teenage meltdowns.  4 hours later we had serviced the main sliders, sewn some tell tales back into the leech on the main and put some extra chafe guard on a kite halyard when the wind started to filter back in and we quickly changed up from the zero to jib and staysail then to first reef.
The afternoon was then a fantastic ride- 11-12 knots straight down the line to Grenada with everyone helming the boat at her polar best for this wind angle and a good feed of cous cous, vegetables and lime juice to rally energies.
As the afternoon wore to a close and it was apparent we had had a very good run I reworked my assessment of the morning's shenanigans and revealed that indeed as suspected there was no god and if there was then he/she or it obviously did not like the cut of our jib.  The crew were sad, the crew were dispirited and then the captain went on to mention that the latest sched showed we had made gains, that god was now smiling on us and perhaps even favouring us somewhat.  Suddenly the crew began to smile and feel good about themselves again, things were not so bad  Skippering 101- sailors are simple creatures so tell them what they want to hear. At that moment,on time, the wind started to veer, our sliegh ride came to an end and we started to go onto the beat. 25knots on the nose now and perhaps more to come. So what do I tell the crew? That there is more foul weather ahead and things are going to be unpleasant? Of course not. Skippering 102 - always remind a sailor how lucky he/she is. I'm just off on deck to start a discussion how fantastic it will be to begin a tenacious come back beating upwind in a Volvo 60 one of the world's best boats to go to weather in.

Campagne de France FRA147 Wednesday Evening

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Campagne de France continued to be pestered by large wind-sucking cloud systems for much of the night and early morning, until 4 sail changes and a lot of persistence set the boat free from the last tenacious cell shortly after sunrise - the only one left on the horizon - staying resolutely close enough to mess up the feeble breeze.
And now we are heading for a front, which means upwind, which means bad temper on board as there is a firm belief on this boat that sailing upwind in anything over 12 knots should be banned.
Nevertheless, wind at last and it's building along with a southeasterly swell crossing the existing northerly swell. Wet on deck, overcast and miles in the right direction.
This morning we were visited by a large whale, surfacing several times alongside the boat. The thrill of seeing such an extraordinary creature so close was slightly tinged with apprehension, the whale being several sizes larger and more solid than Campagne de France.

Mercredi matin à bord Campagne de France FRA147

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Bonjour
Ca n'a pas loupé. On pressentait bien que la nuit allait être compliquée sur Campagne de France, elle le fut. Du vent très variable, quelques grains, pas trop, mais juste assez pour nous embêter et résultat un sillage d'ivrogne à une vitesse d'escargot.


Aux positions du petit matin on s'attendait à avoir pris une correction, mais apparement nous ne sommes pas  les seuls à avoir pris une cuite et nos petits camarades ont ramassé aussi.
Pour la légende de "l'autoroute des Alizés", il faudrait revoir la copie, en tous cas sur ce tronçon là. On peut carrément mettre le panneau "en travaux" et pas la peine de mettre le panneau vitesse réduite, vu qu'on risque pas d'exploser les compteurs.


A part le vent erratique et les aléas de la course, c'était tout de même une très belle nuit, avec plein d'étoiles, comme souvent les nuits  sans Lune et pour peu que le ciel soit dégagé... au moins par endroit.


C'est un peu dommage de ne pas pouvoir être trop contemplatif et de se prendre le chou parce  qu'on n'avance pas et qu'on est en course.
Par moment j'envie le gars sur son confortable bateau de croisière, qui n'en n'a rien à fiche d'arriver à pas de jour et qui ne fait pas un caca nerveux chaque fois qu'un voilier passe à côté de lui en allant deux fois plus vite. Se laisser aller au gré des flots, en regardant tout ce qui est beau, tout en sirotant les meilleurs crus des fonds du bateau, transformés en cave, comme il se doit. Sur un parcours comme celui des Canaries Aux Antilles, pour le gars qui n'est pas pressé, ce n'est même pas la peine de se creuser la tête pour la navigation, étant donné que, comme le disait très justement Eric Tabarly, "tu jettes une bottes de paille aux Canaries, elle finira toujours par aller de l'autre côté". Cette phrase lapidaire étant en général son commentaire pour tous les pseudo aventuriers qui faisaient grand cas d'une  traversée sur cette route, que ce soit à la Voile, à la rame, en pédalo, ou même à la nage.


Remarques, je  dis ça comme ça, mais je crois quand même qu'au bout d'un moment, une fois que j'aurais tout bien redardé et admiré, je me lasserais du seul contemplatif et j'essayerais par tous les moyens de faire avancer le plus vite possible la baille à moule sur laquelle je me retrouve embarqué, quitte à récupérer la nappe de la table du carré, histoire d'envoyer quelques mètres carrés de toile en plus. Finalement, on ne se refait pas. On ne redresse pas un bossu...


A part ça, beaucoup plus intéressant, une énorme baleine est venue nous rendre visite ce  matin, à seulement quelques mètres du bateau. Spectacle grandiose, dont on ne se lasse jamais. ... Mais c'est quand même une très grosse bête. Si on est fasciné par une telle rencontre, il est néanmoins difficile de ne pas avoir une petite appréhension en se disant "pourvu qu'elle n'éprouve pas le besoin de se gratter le dos sur notre quille, car notre esquif est bien frêle à côté de ces tonnes de chair et de muscles". Par contre, pas facile à prendre en photo. D'une part elle ne nous prévient même pas avant de faire surface, ne nous dis pas non plus où, et d'autre part allez lui expliquer que c'est mieux de se montrer sous le vent; histoire de pas être à contre jour... Je comprends que les photographes animaliers ils y passent leur vie. C'est quand même plus compliqué que les photos de mariage, où en général on sait toujours où elle est la baleine.
Bon pour l'instant c'est encore pas trop mal, mais il y a un passage de front à venir et du près. Beurk, ça va encore taper.
A bientôt

Day 4 Update from Nemesis GBR17R

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Nights are long, life on board becoming routine, never thought the milk run would be to windward, constant tuning to get the last 10th of a knot but we are hanging in there! Quite glad the only foil on board is for the Christmas turkey, as it looks like we could be cooking it on board. We know this is a race but wondering why we are all in such a rush... stunning out here at the moment! Will check in again soon

Nights are long, life on board becoming routine, never thought the milk run would be to windward, constant tuning to get the last 10th of a knot but we are hanging in there! Quite glad the only foil on board is for the Christmas turkey, as it looks like we could be cooking it on board. We know this is a race but wondering why we are all in such a rush... stunning out here at the moment! Will check in again soon

Day 4 update from Challenger GBR301

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

OK, so we got the Code zero halyard fixed- that was the reason we were so slow the other night- I can't tell you how irritating it was  to be in light airs for most of the night and be denied the one sail that could have really helped. Of course sod's law is always going to determine that if you are going to replace all of your halyards just before the race-all except one- guess which one is going to snap just when you need it. Anyway, that's sailing and we take the rough with the smooth, having remedied the issue we had a fantastic day working Challenger in the way she was designed- as a pedigree race boat- but that doesn't always mean huge speeds and big waves- today our crew learnt a huge amount about how to get the most out of very little wind- lessons made necessary as I don't think we saw over 10 knots for the whole day.


Below decks everyone is getting used to life afloat- the food today was amazing thanks to two main elements coming together; number one the expert pre-race organization of the food by Diane Reid, a very experienced Canadian offshore sailor who joins us for this race and number two the dedicated efforts of our quartermasters for the day, Lionel and Michael.  Cooking for 14 is no mean feat at the best of times but with no room to move, only one burner to cook on, no preparation area and the comings and goings of 12 other people to negotiate in a tight space could you whip up egg hash for breakfast, bean salad for lunch and thai lentil stew for dinner? Thought so.


Ok, so whats' next? Maverick has made a fantastic job of getting West in as short a time as possible-out of sight for us now (damn bunny) we though have got far enough across to be in the same weather system as them with Path, Aragon, Campagne De France, Stay Calm and Nemesis so the game is still afoot- the question now is who will flinch first and turns South- will the GRiBs play out as we think or will breeze push in across the board meaning those far out West will have overstood and those on the great circle route will reenter the race? Its the game we all love to play out here- Ocean Chess and the outcome is anyone's guess.  On board Challenger we will continue focusing on developing the skills necessary to make the most of each opportunity get.

Camagne de France blog - Une journée bien compliquée

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Bonsoir

Journée pas facile sur Campagne de France. A quelques milles près, la porte s'est fermée sous notre nez et depuis le milieu de la nuit nous sommes restés en partie coincés sous une masse de grains complexe et avec un vent variable, souvent d'ouest, ou encore plus souvent de nulle part. En général pétole, avec juste quelques grains bien ventés, histoire d'empêcher qu'on s'endorme.
Bref, à la fin de la journée la douloureuse est un peu salée par rapport à des bateaux qui étaient assez proches de nous. Le truc rigolo, c'est que nous n'étions pas loin du très gros Baltic "Path", que nous voyions de temps à autre sur notre AIS. Eux aussi ils ont bien du galérer et en plus, sur ce genre de maxi Yacht, il faut faire attention à bien anticiper et à ne pas se faire surprendre avec toute la toile dessus quand un mauvais grain pointe son nez. N'empêche, à peine quelques milles de décalage, et ils étaient du bon côté d'un gros système nuageux et ils ont pu nous fausser compagnie. Sans compter qu'avec leur mât 3 fois plus haut que le notre, ils ramassent les miettes de vent en altitude plus aisément que nous et pour peu qu'il y ai un peu de brise plus ou moins stable, ça allonge vite ces gros bazars. 112 pieds de long, soit 34 mètres et quelques, ça cause quand même!


Pour l'instant, on ne peut pas dire que ce soit franchement revenu, juste quelques bouffées erratiques, mais en tous cas le vent soufle plus ou moins dans une direction pas trop illogique par rapport aux cartes météo. On a l'impression d'y comprendre quelque chose. Ca change. Une petite brise très irrégulière de Nord Ouest permet à Campagne de France de tailler sa route, par petits sauts de puces au grès des risées, vers l'Ouest/ Sud ouest.


Une chose est en tous cas certaine, nous ne risquons pas de battre un record de traversée rapide sur cette course. Le moins que l'on puisse dire ce que ce n'est pas parti pour. Heureusement nous ne risquons pas de manquer de manger, vu que nous avons une partie de l'avitaillement pour les courses aux Antilles et pour le retour. Quand à l'eau douce, le désalinisateur fonctionne bien, et tant que l'hydrogénérateur fonctionne pour produire du jus, nous sommes autonomes pour un paquet de jours.


Bon, maintenant on va voir comment sera la nuit. Je pense qu'il y a encore de l'instabilité à attendre et il faudra bien faire avec.
Bonsoir


Campagne de France - 27°23N/23°30W - soleil couchant dans l'étrave - c'est bon signe, vu qu'il parait qu'il se couche à l'Ouest.