After what seemed like an eternal time spent beating upwind the last 48
hours have finally given us some following winds and faster sailing
conditions. This came as a huge relief although sailing downwind at high
speeds presents its own challenges too.
Last night unfortunately we trashed our biggest spinnaker in an accident
caused by a brief malfunction of the autopilot, a problem similar to that
already experienced by Phesheya a few days ago, the autopilot suddenly
pushed the tillers to one side, enough to send the boat into a violent
crash gybe, with mainsail and spinnaker on the wrong side the boat was
pinned down, the spinnaker hard pressed against mast and rigging ripped in
half before we even got to release it.
The loss of the masthead spinnaker with still 3800 miles to go to Punta
del Este is likely to cost us dearly in terms of performance but there’s
absolutely nothing we can do about it, the sail cannot be fixed on
On a more pleasant note, I was just called on the satellite phone for a
live link with Italy during the ceremony for the Italian Sailor of the
Year award which I won thanks to the many votes received by those who have
been following my tribulations to be part of the Global Ocean Race… the
prestigious prize was first awarded by "Il Giornale della Vela" in 1991
and has been has seen to a range of sailors win over the years, from
Olympic medallists to offshore sailors such as Giovanni Soldini.
Meanwhile the race committee has decided to extend the southern limit of
the scoring gate from 47S to 50S in light of the upwind conditions that we
would be likely to encounter and the fact that every boat is now out of a
main area of known ice, a pragmatic approach that puts our safety first. – Marco Nannini, GOR. Title rip-off thanks to Saliva.