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DFL

on board

DFL

From our mates on the Class 40 Keysource in the Solidaire Chocolat…

Well, we’re in week 2 now, 7 retirements from the 24 starters and we find
ourselves DFL. Our decision to come South certainly has yet to pay, the
weather we’d seen hasn’t materialised and we’re haemoraghing miles like
it’s going out of fashion.

Still, we’re in 17th out of 24 and we can’t finish any lower than that –
we have to ignore our position in the fleet and really put the hammer down
to pick up some places. The other two boats who’ve headed south – Axa
Atout and Adriatech – are a couple of hundred miles in front and they’re
our targets.

Currently stuck in (another) hole and beating upwind in what I would guess
is about 4 knots of pressure. However the suns just rising over North
Africa and the sky is stunning. Racing aside we’ve already had a great
experience, from lots of dolphins to flying fish, sea turtles and the most
amazing dawns/dusks and night skies (I counted 6 shooting stars two nights
ago)

Putting everything we can into getting past the Canaries and into some
decent easterly flow which should hopefully carry us at pace towards the
next mark of the course – the gate at St Barts. I hesitate to say trades
as with all the lows crossing the North Atlantic it’s not exactly trade
wind conditions and we’re having to head very south to get into them.

On board the only problem had been the electronics, we’ve sailed most of
the race with no weather data and only one B&G display working – however
the only reliable info is the boat speed and the course/speed over ground
(though I should give depth the benefit of the doubt!) – our AIS is
faulty, our tricolour broken, our active echo and satellite comms
upsetting each other as well. These are not excuses for our performance to
date, all our running rigging and sails are ok and our back-up Raymarine
pilot working fantastically (only works on heading though). I think when
we get to Mexico we’re going to have to work out why all the electrical
issues – whether the kit is crap or whether the guys installing it all are
useless…..

Have been trying not to think too much about the boys up North (we’re 850
miles behind the leader and I reckon that will rise to 1,000 before we
start getting some decent miles to the mark) though hats off to them.
They’ve been sailing in appalling conditions day after day and getting
their boats through it in one piece whilst still going fast, particular
big ups to the amateurs racing up there, the lads on Orbis and the guys on
Palanad and Plan des Enfants. There aren’t many of us all amateur crews
racing, most of the boats have at least one pro on board and it’s great to
see them slogging it out with some of the true legends of short handed
offshore racing.

Today’s mission is to make some decent progress towards the Canaries –
they’re just over 100 miles away now – and grab some miles on the boys in
front.

Thanks to everyone for all of the support – more here.