I’m writing this from the comfort of the Artemis blue bus as Simon the French ‘preparature’ and I drive south to St Gilles having just pushed Sam off the dock at Lorient. Whilst he gets the pleasure of motoring into the cold dawn I am quite smug about having done my delivery slightly friskier conditions. My trip down south on Sunday saw a good forecast of 25-30 knots from behind turn into more like 30-40 knots. My grown up, cautious approach to the delivery went well for the first few hours as the boat was happily surfing well with just a mainsail and jib. Once I gybed onto the lay line 50 miles out however, and after a lot of watching the wind speed willing it to drop, I decided it was time to hoist a spinnaker!
The set went ok in a well timed lull but within about five minutes I was hit by one of the biggest gusts of the day. I stopped looking at the wind speed as it passed 40 knots to put all my efforts into keeping the mast pointing at the sky, and buying time to drop the kite as soon as I dared. With my tether nice and short I came out of the first nose dive and subsequent white out still going straight but the next wave was a little too steep. The bow went down so far I thought it was going to keep going and it was almost a relief when I lost the rudder and the boat broached out, giving me chance to drag in the spinnaker. After this I waited till things had chilled out a lot more to re hoist and had a very pleasant blast into St Gilles, which is the second stop in the Solitaire this summer. Here’s a video of the trip
Last week we had a small taste of the Breton summer for the first couple of days training before a good thick covering of fog to make our end of week offshore race a bit more interesting. It was a treat sailing in some light winds again to make us feel like our boat handling was amazing although I was gutted to drop back in the race because of silly navigation errors and frustration caused by cracking the screen of my brand new iPad! The big mile stone of the week was finally finishing packing our food for the AG2R into bags ready for the race. our only worry on that front is that we might have too much!
This week is all about getting ready for the Solo Massif Marine in Les Sables D’Olonne.