Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"Black Cat" Rio Race Report #1

Skipper Dave Immelman sent me his first report today on their race thus far.

"Sorry it has taken such a long time to get back to you. We have been a bit busy. The start was mad. It was 30 knts in the Paarden Island corner and a tight reach to Milnerton and on to Blouberg then off. I have made the call to go north and to be conservative in the first few days. As it now seems with Dark Matter, Wow out and Trekker being scuttled I think it has been a good call for our 20 year old lady.

We are now the most northern boat in our  fleet and I want to see what the next grib says as there seems to be something strange happening to our SW. A front or maybe a split low. Will keep you informed. BC is behaving beautifully if a little heavy.  We have topped out at 22.6 knts and I am happy with the 200 plus miles per day. Now comes the long haul. Keep the trim up keep the speed up and hope to the high does what we want. I am not sure why the rest followed Black Pearl as they can make their own wind. But it seems too far south for them. We need to find it.

Anyway keep well and I will write soon."
"Black Cat" leaving Table Bay as seen from the kitesurfing beach at Blouberg. Photo Robin Schultz
Dave Mentions "Black Cat" being a bit heavy. This is because they have 6 crew, 1 more than we have had in previous races. Of course this means extra weight of the additional crew plus gear and stores, all needing more water to be pushed aside for the boat to pass through. Despite that, they have matched the best speed that we have attained in previous races.

It will be interesting to watch the relative progress of the various boats as the race goes on. The northern course has more distance but also the potential for more wind, so more speed. All courses will converge on Cabo Frio, closest landfall on the Brazil mainland.

Sad news from the race is the sinking of "Voortrekker 11" due to catastrophic rudder failure. Without news of exactly what happened, I wonder if she hit something that caused the damage. We will hear when the crew are safely back ashore. Happily there was no loss of life.