Race 2 - Day 6
Crew Diary - Race 2 Day 6: Punta del Este to Cape Town
10 October

Nathan Harrow
Nathan Harrow
Team Unicef
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It's Leg 2 and the race to Cape Town, South Africa!

Before I get started on the racing, a quick note about Punta del Este and Uruguay. I didn't write any blogs during our stopover. I'd love to tell you all that I was so busy working flat out on the boat and getting her shipshape, ready for Leg 2. However, I'd be lying.

I didn't write any blogs because I was having such an amazing time in the beuatiful place we stopped. We were treated to BBQs like I have never seen before, wine tasting, sensational bars like Capi (a huge shout out to my new friends Diego and Sophi).

The yacht club provided us with two attachees (also new friends - Claudio and Fabi) who are stars and looked after us, gave us lots of advice and generally made our stay a real pleasure.

I also met the lovely Karina, who works with projects looking after and helping the most amazing kids who have had such a hard start to life. So hopefully, with a little luck and a lot of hard work, we have initiated a project to join up these kids with the yacht club and who knows where it may lead. The next Uruguayan sailing champion, some kids who get to try sailing - maybe work in the yacht industry, - and even some apprenticeships in ship building! The sky is the limit and I'm looking forward to being involved much more in the future. But a huge thank you to Ando, head coach at Punte De Este Yacht Club, Claudio sailor, friend and general good egg, and Karina!!!

Now onto the race. The start was sensational, tacking off the coast, big winds, all 12 yachts looking amazing in the South American sunlight.

We headed east with keen expectation, the South Atlantic and South Africa lay in front of us. Some big winds and heavy seas took a toll on life aboard which is the main reason I haven't written a blog yet! Life at an angle is hard and sometimes just cleaning your teeth and struggling into your bunk is enough effort.

We were doing well, really well. We'd taken a decision to get south and find big winds. This was working until the fateful night of the Spinnaker Wrap. I was awoken from my slumber to the call for all hands on deck. Rushed into my foolies (still love you Sylvie) and up to find I was needed on helm.

For 4 hours, I helmed deep downwind (with no wind instruments) which made for interesting helming. All with steadily rising wind and some biggish waves. The sight on the foredeck was saddening. Everyone struggling to get this spinnaker down, without success. Then the realisation that the inner forestay was damaged was a real blow, but the team rallied.

A plan was formed. Easy. Heave to (which is the sailing equivalent of pulling in on the side of the road), take down the inner forestay, clear the spinnaker, chop off the damaged bit, reattach the deck gear, reattach it to the top of the mast, re-tension it using some dyneema strops to fill in the missing 5 foot we chopped off, get sailing again!

Sounds simple and that's exactly what we did. Everyone pulled together, using things we could find. Stuart hammered at the top of the mast for 2 days! John and the sail repair team put the spinnaker back together, Ewan, Jen and myself helped with the inner forestay fitting (using jubilee clips and some pliers). Bob offered sage advice and oversaw everything.

And now here we are, back in the race, 1,000nm east of Punte del Este, racing hard and heeled over like usual.

I'm still dreaming about the most amazing steaks, sensational cheesecakes and utterly fabulous people of Uruguay. But I know I'll be back and I can't wait.

Music currently playing in my head: U2 - Can't Live Without You