that’s a wrap

on board

that’s a wrap

This is hopefully going to be the last on board update from Truth in the Singlehanded Transpac. I am excited to finish the race after a very difficult final section over the last 48 hours. It started with the A4 incident I previously wrote about. After that fiasco I was certain that my move to fractional gear and a more cautious attitude would prove solid all the way to the finish, but alas that has not proven to be the case.

I spent last night on starboard with the A6 frac and made some good ground. At daybreak it was time to gybe and I got everything set just as always. Main out to give the kite more shadow, keel to 20 degrees so I am not rolling all over the place while on the bow, assure the snuffer line is clear, smoke sheet and snuff the kite… I guess I let too much sheet off or something else happened and the whole thing wrapped up first on the solent stay, then on the baby stay and became a total mess. This happened to us once on Cutlass during the Montego Bay race and we had to cut the baby stay down to get it sorted! If I had remembered that experience maybe I would have gotten the sock down further without experimenting with every control line trying to get it off the solent stay, but no. I had to try everything and in the process get the thing considerably more twisted. It took about an hour and a half to get the sail below, but I think it is not damaged, which is nice!

I wanted to get on track down racecourse given the other gybe was favored, so I whipped off a gybe and collected my thoughts. I was wiped out and unlike most races I have completed, my boat handling was deteriorating. Most of the time I feel like I am at my prime towards the end of the race, but these mistakes are telling me that my mind and body are far from 100%.

When racing offshore I always have an overwhelming sense that the competition is breathing down my neck. I think it comes from all the dinghy sailing I did when I was younger. So was I going to be smart and learn from my mistake? No. I couldn’t lose any ground. Code 3 came out of the stack since I didn’t want to go with the A2, the A4 was shot and I really couldn’t tackle untangling the A6. It was a good choice I thought.

Everything was set. Sheets on, furler on and out, halyard made, dial down and hoist. Should be perfect. And then out peels the first third of the sail just as I got it on the lock, spins up the furler on the tack line grabbing all the furler control line it could, total mess at the end of the sprit and impossible to open or close the sail anymore. Sweet. I guess my memory failed me since I knew the furl on the sail was terrible from when I dropped it on day 3. I should have re-done it back then. Would I hedge my bets and just drop it right away?? Of course not!! Trip to the end of the sprit trying to unspin left my hands feeling numb with no results, tack line off and furler line on, opposite, sheet off with those combos, sheet on, etc. Nothing worked. So finally I detached the furler like unwove it from the drum, did a magic dance and hooray – the sail opened! Ran back to trim on. This was going to be sweet. But wait, the sail was wrapped on the solent stay. Repeat A6 procedure above and two hours later I was in the same spot, now less a functional code 3 since it was in a heap down below.

Took an hour to re-hydrate, eat and think. Took another hour of looking at the A6 and trying to untangle it in the forepeak. Took another thirty minutes for a little psychiatry with myself. Hoisted genoa and staysail and pointed for the finish at 80% speed. That was at about noon and in the ten hours since I have focused on housekeeping and personal maintenance trying to get my hydration back and also attempting to get a solid meal down in this heat (31C (I don’t know how to make it read in F)).

So not such an excellent day here on Truth – but we just broke the 300 mile mark and are scheduled for a late finish on Sunday. This fiasco has cost me my late afternoon sunset finish slot! I guess that is a small concession given that I am safe and no gear was damaged too badly. Plus I am getting some good rides in the high teens on the waves even with my reduced rig!

What is 300 miles..? Ida Lewis Distance Race?? One of those to go. Track the fleet here.