Rough past two days for the guys on board: bad luck, broken hardware, missing parts, busted boat, and slightly broken spirits. We won’t interpret what Charlie is telling us. This time, you guys are getting the raw feed.
A great sailor once said, “if you luff, you’re a quitter” and followed it up immediately with “And if you don’t luff, you’re an idiot and the limit between those two is very narrow.”
It seems, we too have found our limit. After having played the part of Marvel comics super heroes (Fred is obviously Daredevil and I’m Thor…obviously) on Sunday, the superheroes have come down a notch with their superpowers depleted.
We already knew that surfing a Beneteau First 30 between 15 and 18kts in high winds in the middle of the night and in the middle of the Pacific is pretty hair-raising, but this time around it scarred us for life…Our underwear too, as a matter of fact. In an event that caught us both off-guard, we hit 35-40 knot winds (an estimate since none of our electronics are working) that caused the boat to make like a lawn dart with water to the base of the mast. There was some cussing involved in two recognized languages and some even that have yet to be discovered. The resulting mess on deck took over two hours to clean up (by myself since Fred is our make-shift auto-pilot) and that doesn’t include picking up the various broken pieces and hardware.
We immediately regained our composure and hoisted the small spinnaker because, hey, we’re in a race here. Fred, doing his best considering the conditions, manages to wrap the spinnaker twice around the forestay, delaying us another hour. So now, it’s 5am, we haven’t slept, we have two sails crumpled on deck and the wind is still relentlessly blowing.
At that precise moment, the boat yawed and I see the Pacific go vertical in front of us. I throw my arms out in front of me and I see one of our mast’s shrouds just whipping and dangling in the wind.
It was not our time and thankfully there were no vacancies among the sea gods. It became obvious to us that it was time to call it a day…maybe even a race. This is the limit I mentioned earlier. I went to bed exhausted and quite frankly scared shitless.
We eventually hoisted up another spinnaker but when we sensed it was getting too risky, we pulled back. Our new goal is simply to get the boat and us back safely. After we accepted that, we spent the day assessing the damages, repairing what we could and moving at a much more leisurely (read: won’t get us killed) pace. In that terrifying adventure, we lost halyards and quite a bit of small but necessary hardware.
Last night, we feasted. F@ck it, we deserved it after that craziness. I was able to make three delicious lasagna portions (thank you Barilla!) in a pot…on the stove! Proud of ourselves, we rewarded ourselves with the remaining Lynch Bages from the Captain’s Dinner (which seems like ages ago now). The rest of the night was much more relaxed and we were even able to enjoy the moon.
At 5am, we decided to try out the spinnaker again and again (the damages to the boat make what is typically routine not quite as easy as it should be). No need to go into the gritty detail, but it’s all a shit storm at this point, with nothing cooperating.
So, now you know what the last 36 hours have been like for us. We were on a mission to beat Wolfpack no matter what but have come to the realization that it won’t be possible. Our resident naval architect & aerospace engineer (Fred) seems bent on the belief that they are unbeatable not because of skill and luck, but mostly because they have a “thief’s PHRF rating” making their handicap absolutely impossible to beat in this class of boats. Heck, we thought our extreme weight losses (e.g: buckets instead of plumbing) would make a significant difference, but it’s just not attainable.
We’ve picked up the pace a bit after catching our breaths over the last 24 hours. We still plan on coming in second because the spirit of competition on this boat is alive and well…and that’s our rightful spot anyway (it’s the Breton spirit talking now…).
Much love from us and we hope to arrive on Friday at noon right in time for a well-deserved cocktail…or five.
At the moment, the boat is still moving at a respectable pace, albeit about 1.5kts slower than their previous average. Their goal is to maintain the 2nd place they currently hold in their division and to not drop out of the top 10 overall standings. We are transmitting them your Facebook comments via email (accessing Facebook via satellite costs about $14,000,000 per minute). We think any words of encouragement from you guys at this point would really help boost their morale. So don’t be shy.
Stay tuned for the final days of SailingForALS’s Pacific Cup updates.