Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Black Cat" Rio Race Report #5

Since the last report from skipper Dave "Wavy" Immelman on the Didi 38 "Black Cat", I have looked at their track on the Xtra-Track map for the Cape to Rio Race and wondered why they are sailing such wide angles, sailing reaching courses that seem to be way higher than optimal VMG courses and are giving away many miles against the competition. In the process they have dropped one position, from 3rd to 4th in their division. I planned to write about it today but have just received the report below from Wavy, which answers the question.
Tracking map of this morning. The track of "Black Cat" is the purple one running diagonally from top right to centre bottom, in the process covering enough ocean to go from the most northerly position in the fleet to the most southerly position. Click on the image for a larger view. Image courtesy of Xtra-Track.
Hi All,

Well we are in the home stretch now and aiming straight for Rio, 525 nautical miles to go. So, with any luck some time on Friday evening we should make landfall. Then there is the issue of getting to the finish line through the light airs behind the mountains.

We have had another eventful few days. Will it ever end and just some plain sailing please.

The second half of our already halved motor has now blown up. So we now have a 0 cylinder 0 HP motor.  At least this time when she blew the oil was contained in the engine compartment and not all over the saloon and me. No watermaker, freezer, fridge or music. We do have enough water to make it in without an issue and the food we have should last. Tiffany at the race office has been brilliant and has arranged a tow-in to the new marina. She has also arranged for a diesel Mac to come down and expedite repairs before our trip back to Cape Town.

To add insult to an already salty injury, we broached out yesterday morning and snapped the spinnaker pole against the forestay. This means that we are down to two sails, the A3 currently flying and the  already repaired A0. I have glasses up the pole and it might hold for a while, but it certainly won't take too much weight. Well another repair on the list before the trip home.

The on board spirits are still high through all the hardships. To give an example, the guys are realising that if one crew is tired and they are not, with no thought for themselves, they step in and do an extra hour or two of watch, allowing the rest to sleep. They make jokes in the cockpit all the time and the banter about cold beer... No let me rephrase that... Anything cold, well you can imagine.

With the increased air temperature the daily bath off the back is a god-send and  a wonderful time to cool off, even if the sea temperature is 28.5°C. If fact I don't think that anyone has even looked at their sleeping bag for the last week. And night watches are done in shorts and a PFD. In fact the last two sail changes and bits of pole recovery were done in jocks and PFD. Cool sailing kit!

Talking of nights, we had the most beautiful moon rainbow. Rain east of us and the bright moon and a night time rainbow. Quite incredible. Later that night the International Space Station came over like a spotlight in the night sky. Makes use feel a little slow as they go around the world in 26 minutes and it would take us about 26 months.

Well the weather forecast for the next few days is promising, so let's hope for a lovely last few days at sea."


We at Dudley Dix Yacht Design wish "Black Cat" and crew better fortune and good sailing for the last few days of the race.