boy is my Azores
That’s right boys and girls, it’s time for the Mini Class Azores Race, aka www.lessables-lesacores.com
The fleet is small this year with 38 boats, however most of the serious mini campaigner’s preparing for next year’s Mini Transat are participating, so the competition should be as good as it will get within the mini class.
It’s a fascinating thing to see all of these little boats getting ready and sailors walking up and down the dock all day. You can tell everyone is ready to go though, because seeing the same faces for days on end and saying bonjour, salut, hey, blah blah blah is getting old for all involved. But what we all know is that we are all heading out on an ocean race, in tiny boats, and that no matter how much we try to sort our lives out at the dock, something is going to happen. Joy, pain, fear, broken boats, broken spirits, hallucinations, you name it. The adventure element will never disappear from this kind of racing, and if there is one thing we all have in common it is empathy.
We go out there to race, but also to discover things that are impossible to find out without actually putting ourselves out there. As I do this more it’s the thing that is most exciting about the sport.
Here is a picture of Myrna representing SA in Les Sables. The last time this branding was here is was with Bruce on Ocean Planet, and the same supporters of his campaign have stepped up to help me here too. It’s been really wonderful to have that support by extension.
Oh, and I broke my mast two days ago in the prologue race. We had guests on board, and one of them accidently opened a runner clutch during a gybing in 17 knots of wind, just before I had the new runner on, and the mast fell forward and broke in two just below the deck. That’s why there is no mast in this picture.
So that sounds really bad, however, after the mast broke it stayed up because I have lines below securing the mast fore/aft and there was enough compression from the runner I put on quickly and the halyards etc… I managed to get the new, very big BD kite ( www.bd.com) in the boat safely and the boat head to wind with forestay and runners on tight. We even managed a tack to crab off the coast a bit until a boat could come tow us in.
Once at the dock we pulled the rig, laid it on two saw horses, and I simply tugged at the bottom and it came off cleanly! It should be noted that Classe Mini had already arranged for a carbon guy to come look at the mast by the time I was at the dock. They definitely want sailors in their events, despite much of the bureaucracy we complain about over coffee and on forums. The sailors were all very supportive too, sharing ideas and experiences about how to fix the rig. I wasn’t too nervous about getting it done because besides the lower bits everything was still intact. Wind instruments, mast track, sails, rigging, all that stuff. Luckily it managed not to fall overboard. The guest was extremely apologetic and I have no hard feelings about it because it was an accident. Besides, I had to focus on getting it back together, and this is it as it stands in the boat now:
One piece. I had a good guy on the project. He built a sleeve for the inside, scarfed the good parts of both tubes into the sleeve and then built it back up to the original laminate. I am confident it will perform as new. He’d done this many times before, and I’m not worried for some reason.
I mean, I’m sure I’ve worked out all the bugs in my boat at this point. What could possibly go wrong that hasn’t already! It feels so good to have these difficulties behind me, now I can just focus on enjoying the race. I also brought a whole volume of Garfield books to read on the way because the first leg looks so easy, and I find that cat’s sardonic nature so titillating. That Garfield, will he ever change!
Wasn’t someone talking about a font for sarcasm in the forums? Should be applied to the paragraph above.
We start Sunday afternoon. The weather looks really nice for the first leg with a lot of reaching and running, and we are all excited to get off the docks here. Follow our dots: www.lessables-lesacores.com
Next stop, Horta.