Tough day for the Pirates today. The day started off with some bad news in that our man Justin (Juggy) Clougher was not able to sail due to a violent case of the stomach flu. We were lucky to have a very good sailor working in our sail loft, Jeremy Smith, being able to fill in and he did a great job. Poor Jeremy came on a day where we used the same spinnaker every downwind leg so he did nothing but pack sails all day.
The forecast was for a strong south easterly breeze and that is just what we had…up to 40 knots max. After the start, we got going to the right which was the favored side of the course. We rounded the top mark 4th but very close to ABN 2 and movistar whom we soon passed by setting the spinnaker while they sailed with a large genoa. We could not lay the reach mark…it was a run, and we had some close maneuvering with movistar as that mark. They broached (lost control of the boat) first and then we did the same. We got out of our mess first and had a nice solid lock on second from then on to the third windward mark. On the last run, we broached again and lost three boats. Movistar, ABN2 and Brasil 1. The race was shortened after the fourth windward leg so we did not have to do the last run. That was a good thing because we were out of spinnakers and we probably we not the only ones.
It was frustrating to lose three places like that on the last lap. We were definitely doing something wrong on the gybes in 35 knots of wind. As you can imagine, it takes a good amount of coordinationwith the crew, helmsman and swinging keel, to get those gybes to come off well. Obviously we did not have it worked out. After thinking about things and discussing with some of our team members who watched the race, we think we have identified the problem.
As frustrating as it was for us, there were two others who had a tougher day, Ericsson and Synergy.
We have to keep it positive now and just go on about our work in preparing for leg 2 to Melbourne. There will be plenty of opportunities to do things right and wrong over the next 6400 miles. We have to focus on preparing the boat and ourselves to the best level possible.
A lot of my time and that of navigator Jules Salter will be spent working with out meteorologist Jean Yves Bernot next week to get a good grip on the weather for the leg to Melbourne. Tomorrow and Wednesday we will be working on the boat. Later in the week we will take the boat out again and train for those windy conditions to make sure we have a better technique for the gybes.
Tomorrow night will be the Leg 1 Prize giving. It is usually a very nice event here in Cape Town from what I remember. The Pirates will be there in full colors, not expecting any prizes but saluting the winners. We will be wearing our special Pirate suits designed and supplied by Zegna.
Time to keep our chins up and look forward to another day.
Pirates of the Caribbean