Friday, January 6, 2017

"Black Cat" Rio Race Report #2

Here in Virginia Beach we are under a blizzard watch for the next 24 hours, with possibly a foot of snow expected. Meanwhile, in the middle of the South Atlantic they are in mid-summer and hot. I was supposed to be there, not freezing my butt off in these temperatures and fixing my generator in preparation for potential power outages in the snow, ice and gales. Well, that is the way that it is and it does give me another 2 months to catch up on my work backlog.

Here is the second report from skipper Dave Immelman on the Didi 38 "Black Cat".

"Hi Everyone,

News from Black Cat.

Well, our first update from our trans-Atlantic Race is both good and bad. The great is that all on board are  well and in high spirits. We have all settled in to little sleep, sore fingers and squinting eyes, eating on the go and grabbing a quick 40 winks when we get the chance.

The weather has been a little trying and the sea state has been more than trying. SE, SW and S winds, with the sea coming in from all these directions. Cath described helming like being in a washing machine. Just as you get her on the surf, you suddenly get hit side on dunking the whole crew, throwing the boat into what can be only called a tail spin.

Due to this I made the call to head north as quickly as possible, also there was a strange looking system that was appearing on and off for the Thursday, so all things considered, flat following seas and trade winds seemed to be the answer.

We have, however, had a few setbacks. We managed to rip two of our kites, unfortunately this included our S2 (Our Biggest) and the A0. During the dropping of the A0 the head managed to get into the water (almost with the foredeck crew) and dragged under the boat. once we got it back on board it had a long tear along the foot. Then, while on a brilliant broad reach doing about 12 knots, the pole mutinied and dropped the guy! How I have no idea, but the end result was that the pole did a great javelin job right through the starboard clew.  This has slowed our daily progress. Then yesterday we managed to hook up some kind of flotsam which made the boat very slow indeed, as well as very hard to sail. After trying every manoeuvre I could to shake it, we eventually had to await first light, then I went into the water to free us from what looked like an old fishing net!
Free we jumped into high gear with the A3 and have had the most marvellous day surfing toward Rio. Music blareing, boys sewing, and jokes a plenty."

Good to hear that all is going well on "Black Cat". With reference to my analysis on race tactics in my previous blog post, the move to the north has continued and now includes almost the whole fleet, even those from the first start who are further along the course. As I said in an earlier post, I am not going to second guess Dave's decisions, he is there on the water, experiencing the conditions and also researching expected weather patterns. Now the fleet is moving up toward his chosen course.

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