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race 4, day 1

Derry~Londonderry~Doire - Sean McCarter

05 NOV 2013 - Race 4

It doesn't seem like so long ago that I was typing Leg 2's last blog but so much has happened in between. We arrived in Cape Town in seventh position, a mere six hours behind GREAT Britain who sailed a great race and took first place. It was right down to the wire with Switzerland and Old Pulteney who arrived in the infamous wind shadow of Table Mountain before us. We could almost see the whites of Patrick's eyes at one stage and, we were neck and neck with Vicky and her Swiss team but alas both teams made good use of the almost non-existent wind to pip us to the post.

Our week in Cape Town was a balance of preparing the boat for Leg 3 whilst taking in the sights, catching up on some lost sleep and replacing lost calories.

We had the pleasure of meeting the Deputy Mayor Gary Middleton of Derry-Londonderry, as well as Officer for Trade and Investment Aeidin McCarter.

It was fantastic to hear how well the City has been doing during its year as the UK’s first City of Culture, having already hosted over 140 events from art exhibitions and concerts up to the Halloween festival last week that saw almost 50,000 people take to the streets in fancy dress.

Yesterday saw the usual organised chaos of Race Start day. There is so much that has to happen at precisely the right time with very little time to do it in! Fair play to the Clipper Race staff who pulled it off yet again without a hitch. After departing the dock to the music of an African band, we had a Parade of Sail under the backdrop of Table Mountain, then it was straight into Race Start.

We were caught between a rock and a hard place at the start; too early for the spot we wanted on the line but too late to turn back and reposition. We ducked Qingdao and ended up buried behind them and Henri Lloyd. The team did really well and a couple of tacks later we rounded the windward mark in about sixth position. The next question was how wide a berth to give Green Point and the Table Mountain wind shadow. We decided that about two-thirds of the way to Robben Island would be our berth and thankfully it panned out pretty well allowing us to exit the bay in the top three positions. Since then, we have been using 30 years of valuable local knowledge kindly donated by Steve Meek along with good boat speed and great team work!


Until tomorrow...