Leg 4, Race 5 to Sydney Reflections

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For me this race will be remembered for a number if things:

  • The huge and rapid change in wind conditions with little or no warning! These conditions have left us with 2 ruined kites, potentially beyond repair and if it wasn’t for the sheet snapping perhaps a third. On several occasions we were hit what I call bullets; a rapid increase in wind speed, 20-25 knots was not uncommon on what was already there, which just as quickly disappeared.
  • The lack of wind on the run up the coast towards Sydney whilst trying to fight the East Australian current.
  • The fact that although is race was a lot less in distance than the previous leg it still dipped down below 40′ South into the Southern Ocean and was as tough as the previous leg, which we weren’t really expecting.
  • The finish into Sydney harbour, obviously!
  • What made it tougher again was the reduced crew numbers, sometimes there were only 6 of us on watch. When you compare this to other boats that have 22 crew at their disposal, hence 11 in each watch, and they get all 22 up to do a headsail change it makes our achievement all the greater I believe. It’s not insignificant that the top 3 boats all have a full crew complement.

    We now have a long list of maintenance and sail repair jobs to work through before the start of the next race which will see the fleet competing in the famous Sydney Hobart race. For me it’s winch maintenance and repair again……. All being well we will get a couple of days of to look round Sydney and there is nothing planned for Xmas day I believe in terms of boat jobs!?!

    To help us recover, our sponsors, Mission Performance, have paid for us all to have a massage today. Greatly appreciated!!

    Oh yeah, guess what shirt I’ll wearing at the first sailing association regatta in the new year?

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    2 Comments to "Leg 4, Race 5 to Sydney Reflections"

    1. John says:

      Hi Neil,

      Maybe “Nothing Much to Report” was tempting fate a bit!!! I was sorry to hear of the “kitemares” and the difficulties on the run in to port.

      I always wondered how much crew changes would affect the different boats, but I hadn’t realised any of them would be so short handed for so long. You must be right, fewer hands must mean more fatigue and less “muscle” and also more difficulties keeping up with routine maintenance.

      Hope you get some quality down time with your family and you all have a great Christmas. A bit different from the traditional British one eh!

      Good luck for the Sydney Hobart race.

      Cheers John

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