Jivaro

A new crewmember has joined Jivaro as we approached Lampedusa.
After a few nautical miles and some well deserved rest, he flew away ahead of us, leading the way to the last landmark before the final run towards the Maltese finish line.
Jivaro out
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Dorade

As forecast, a strong Low with accompanying severe weather has developed over the race track today. Winds of 35-45 knots and extremely rough seas are expected today, and are forecast to last thru Friday.
While gut-wrenching, the decision to withdraw from the Race and seek safe shelter has proven to be the correct one, as both crew and boat are safely in harbor and the race course is experiencing increasingly dangerous conditions. All involved are marginally surprised at how fast this severe weather system has developed, but are also relieved to have identified it in time to act accordingly.
The decision to withdraw was additionally validated last night, as during the northern transit to safety in Naples, and despite the fact that the severe system was still in its early stages of development, Dorade encountered very strong breeze in excess of 30 knots and very rough and confused seas, creating extreme sailing conditions that tested the boat.
Our thoughts and prayers  go out to any boats and crews still caught out on the race course, and we remain hopeful that all return safely to harbor.

— Matt Wachowicz

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Phosphorus

Having felt like we’d spent forever on a bearing of 240ish (or at least Monday night and the whole of Tuesday) we finally rounded the north western corner of Sicily and in between Favignana/Marettimo in the early hours of Wed morning. Had some decent wind heading towards Pantalleria, but not as much as we’re expecting later today and tomorrow. We’ve recently had a 180 degree wind shift and are expecting breeze build from here.

It should be an interesting final day or so.

Everyone in good spirits so far, especially as we’ve been able to increase food/snackage intake as we get closer to home. Some entertaining banter and also good crew work. Sadly seen little wildlife other than a couple of brief visits from dolphins, a few birds and a large number of moths, bugs, etc.

Only an hour or so from Pantalleria now, when we’ll be bearing off and preparing for the anticipated 25-30 knots.

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S.Y ‘EH01′ Global Yacht Racing

21st October 12.30pm

Well its certainly been an emotional 24 hrs racing in the Middle Sea Race 2015.

Tuesday brought with it another day of light winds and sunshine, and again a struggle with progress in the right direction. Averaging about 3 knots we would occasionally catch a break in the wind and get up to 7 maybe 8 knots. We could also see that somehow Northern Child were gaining on us doing 1 knot faster, this incentivised the crew to work even harder trimming the spinnaker and trying to get everything they could out of EH01.

We seemed to be progressing well as the evening draws in, and with that a fabulous tuna, mayo, pasta and cheese combo as now we are on racing rations and with only one boil in the bag left we wanted to save it for the heavy weather that was being radio’d in every 1hr by the local weather. As we are eating we start to see the sky darken and some lightening on the horizon.

It has to be said though, the crew has come together with the sail changes and gybing, well we have had plenty of practice on this race for sure, I would hazard a guess at about 10 sail changes a day, 10 gybes with the odd tack thrown in. They always seem to come just as the foredeck gets a bit chilly and puts another layer on, so with every spinnaker peel comes a fleece peel…. !! fleece on, fleece off, fleece on, fleece off, jib up, spinnaker down, spinnaker up, jib down and so on….

As we sail into the morning and more grib files are downloaded discussion on when eta to Malta is likely to be start with the skipper and some of the crew. At the moment its looking to be after the official race end Saturday morning, at some point a call needs to be made as to what to do but it seems to be being held off for now. As we start to get to sunrise a squall is heading right for us, thunder, lightning, very very frightening as they say, sudden winds around 25 knots and heavy rain hit the boat. Chaos ensues as the crew try to get the spinnaker down, the electrics switched off in case of lightening strike and the boat appears to be rounding up and so quickly the main is dropped too…. it’s sad but this forces the decision and with all sails down the motor is put on and we are officially retired from the race

Silence amongst the crew as we realise the situation, and that despite enormous effort and perseverance in extremely tough light wind conditions we are not going to finish and that is shortly followed by the realisation we don’t have enough fuel to get back to Malta! So, first things first, we need to find the closest place to stop in Sicily to fuel up before the passage back to RMYC, Trapani is the destination. Then it’s getting prepared for the sail ahead and the journey home, there is a heavy weather warning and possible gale coming so we are battening down the hatches and preparing for the worst but hoping for the best as we motor out now from Trapani with our fuel tanks full.

So it is with a sad heart the the crew of EH01 sign off from the RMSR blog… farewell in the slightly altered for sailing purposes words of Frank Sinatra…

And now, the end is near, and so we faced the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear, I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
We’ve raced a race that’s full, we tried to sail the Rhum line way
And more, much more than this, we did it our way….

S.Y ‘EH01′
Global Yacht Racing

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Jivaro

As we are about to clock 4 full days of race, we feel at last alive again ! Maybe we will regret it tomorrow when the gale force winds are due to hit us but for the time being we saw with great relief the wind finally pick up as expected (more or less …) this morning.

We sailed past Pantelleria quite painfully during the night. We gave it a very wide berth to avoid the wind shadow we expected particularly developed due to heavy and cold air on the island in the middle of the night. This strategy worked well already two days ago in the lee of the Aeolian Islands. It was once more pretty nerve-wracking but did allow us again to catch up with our dearest competitors the other J- Boats Artie, Fastwave and Juno.

The Italian Coast Guards have been transmitting Gale warnings since yesterday … we were hoping to catch the fore-runners of the stronger wind system soon after rounding the western end of Sicily and get back to Malta in just a few long surfs (so to speak …). This is also what the weather files were initially showing. But as usual they proved inaccurate in the details and requiring a good deal of interpretation to match them against the observed weather. Apart from a few gusts due to a distant thunderstorm as we crossed the Castellammare Gulf the weather remained excruciatingly light.

This being said, more cloudy conditions started to settle from yesterday as we rounded the Egadi Islands and the atmospheric pressure has been going down slowly but surely since Monday. The pressure has just started rising again this morning around 9am, as we crossed just another lull followed by a textbook 90 degrees anticlockwise rotation of the wind, now WSW 10 to 12 knots. So we are now expecting the wind to progressively return to NNW and gather strength up to 20-25 nds by the end of the day (with more to come tomorrow …).

We still have our light spinnaker up and are now exceeding 9 knots at times. There are now 50 miles left to Lampedusa which we should reach before sunset. This being said we are enjoying the dry conditions and the temperature is very nice, even at night. A light vest is enough for the night and none of us had to wear their body warmers yet. The sea state has also remained very pleasant all through except for a short sea from the South that shake our spinnaker badly yesterday after the Egadi Islands.

The lyophilised meals are finally OK … barely so for our French palates not so used to this kind of fast food. It is indeed the first race where we did not prepare our freshly cooked and vacuum packed menus. Anyway, we are glad we left Malta with our holds full of these and also with full water tanks ! We could even allow short fresh water showers ! We also applied the “dry race” rule which I have just decided to repell … next time I will allow some measured rounds of wine, beer or whisky – provided all the crew commits to behaving !

We have managed to pass the J111 Fastwave during the night but are struggling to increase our lead. And with the J122 Artie, overall winner of last years’ edition, we could come within not more than a mile several times, but soon to loose ground again very systematically. The speed of these two boats is just impressive.

From the crew of JIVARO, more upbeat than ever !

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Phosphorus

We had a lovely spell of 8+ knots boatspeed under the A1 after Messina until the wind died in the morning, with a frustrating day (Monday) to follow with more sail changes between A1, J1 and A0, trying to get to Stromboli. We had plenty of boats around us, all pointing in different directions across the course and with differing sail plans. Still, we managed to get round the volcano and it’s little brother just before sunset on Monday in a gentle puff, just enough to hold the A1 again. Perfect timing to watch the fireworks provided by the volcano.

Natural fireworks were the theme of Monday night. After Stromboli’s display, we saw developing electrical storms to the north and the west, which fortunately never got close enough to worry us, but occasionally kicked a bit of wind in our direction. Of course, there were also a huge number of shooting stars. It’s quite impressive the amount of shooting stars you see when you only have the masthead windex to steer by. We had various spells of wind during the night, but mostly light and having barely moved fir the last hours of the darkness we were treated to a stunning sunrise over the north of Sicily – the islands of Filicudi and Alicudi, etc.

Now heading towards the north western end of Sicily and Favignana under the A1 again.

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Kuka-Light

Born to be wild……whilst almost everyone is sleeping! ……watch till the very end!

Born to be wild!

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Phosphorus

Having felt like we’d spent forever on a bearing of 240ish (or at least Monday night and the whole of Tuesday) we finally rounded the north western corner of Sicily and in between Favignana/Maretimo in the early hours of Wed morning. Had some decent wind heading towards Pantalleria, but not as much as we’re expecting later today and tomorrow. We’ve recently had a 180 degree wind shift and are expecting breeze build from here. It should be an interesting final day or so.

Everyone in good spirits so far, especially as we’ve been able to increase food/snackage intake as we get closer to home. Some entertaining banter and also good crew work. Sadly seen little wildlife other than a couple of brief visits from dolphins, a few birds and a large number of moths, bugs, etc.

Only an hour or so from Pantalleria now, when we’ll be bearing off and preparing for the anticipated 25-30 knots.

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Kuka-Light

What a night, from light air to 30 knots, with thunder storms!!

Thunderstorms for Kuka Light

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Unica

Unica crew met some friends have a look!

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