Good morning OneDLL fans! It is sailing day one and it has been quite hard work. Table Bay is always a spectacular place to have a Race Start. It has changeable conditions with complex local factors dominating the local weather. We had a good start being about 20 seconds late over the line, narrowly passing the warship. Good crew team work then ensured that we were the first yacht with their spinnaker up at the windward mark. This paid dividends and we were soon in first position.
This meant we had to make a tactical decision. Do we go on a more northerly route and try to avoid the wind hole (If it is there? Well we found it on the way in!) Or do we go for shortest distance?
Well we decided to go for a northerly option and skirted just south of Robben Island. The wind hole was definitely there, but not as pronounced as it could have been. As a result the middle ground (those yachts that went a little north but not as north as us) paid and we were soon back in the middle of the fleet. As we came out of the local effects of Table Bay, the wind got up and we had to change down from our Yankee 1 (the biggest sail at the front).
Unfortunately this tried to go swimming so we had to tack out towards the west, enabling the crew to wrestle it in more easily. This was against our tactical decision to take the inshore route trying to stay out of the current that moves up the west coast of Africa.
Soon we were underway again and doing well with Yankee 2 (second biggest sail at the front). Over the course of the evening there was close racing amongst the fleet and hard work by all as we tacked down the depth contours and monitored the water temperature. The wind died and we had to change to the Yankee 1 again. This level of work has been hard on the crew but they have taken it in their stride, without complaint (well mostly!). Just to make things a little more interesting apparently the traffic gets quite busy around the bottom of Africa so we had lots of traffic to contend with, including tankers and fishing boats.
It is early days yet and there appear to be one or two yachts to chase down. Trying to use the lows to our best advantage and working hard in rough conditions should help us make good progress towards Albany. Our first low is not too far off and I expect I will be writing about it in the next blog.
I'd like to say a big thank you to the crew for the tremendous amount of skill they demonstrated on the deck over the last 24hrs. Some of the manoeuvres I asked of them were really tough and it is a testament as to how far they have come that they took them in their stride.
Cape Town was a great stop with friendly people and lots of things for visitors to do. The stopover was great because it allowed us to recharge our batteries while working on the boat and making sure that she will be ready for the challenges ahead in the Southern Ocean.
Let me take a moment to introduce some of the new crew members. We have Leg 3 crew member Roland Meyer who seems to be at home in the pit. There is Leg 3 and 4 crew member Christel Van Der Wilk who is working well on deck and keen to get up to speed on all aspects of the yacht as soon as possible. Leg 3 and 4 crew member Quentin Stewart is already making his presence felt on the bow. Then we have Leg 3 crew member Victor Saeijs, a mountain of a man whose strength and determination are welcome assets. And last but not least, Leg 3 crew member Troels Moller who is doing really well as I think for the first time in his Clipper race experience has not got seasick on the first few days out. His sense of humour is always welcome as he lightens most situations.
I hope that everyone at home is well. Thank you so much for the continued support. It really means so much to the crew.
"If I can pull this damn thing in then you sure as hell can"