After nearly two weeks of hard core sailing, the best part of which spent
beating upwind in very tough conditions, including an early force 9 storm
that prompted two boats to retire, we are finally through the scoring
gate taking 2nd place. This virtual line on the chart served two purposes,
first to provide an intermediate point in the race where boats are awarded
extra points based on their position at the time of crossing, second to
force the fleet to take a more northerly route from New Zealand to Cape
Horn avoiding the worst of an area of known icebergs.
These were hard earned miles, certainly some of the hardest sailing
conditions i ever met, when i saw we had some 1400 miles to the gate, all
upwind, I thought back at the OSTAR 2009, my first transatlantic race,
from Plymouth UK to Newport RI, certainly the mother of all upwind races
and it gave me some extra confidence. Sometimes when you sail upwind for
several days the morale sinks low and you start thinking that you’ll never
make it, that the boat cannot survive the battering, progress is slow and
the prospects look bleak. For us, paradoxically trouble came with the
first night of following winds when we destroyed our masthead A2 spinnaker
following a crash gybe caused by an autopilot malfunction.
We are undoubtedly very proud to have made it so far despite the
adversities and our eyes are now set for the ultimate milestone, rounding
Cape Horn, just over 2000 miles to the south east and I wish to thank all
those who took the time to send us messages of encouragement to the boat.
After crossing a virtual line please join us in our virtual celebratory
party, if you feel so inclined you can bring a virtual round of beers at www.marconannini.com/help. Title thanks to Homer Simpson.