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….
Global Yacht Racing