May 18, 2013
While you’re waiting for the full story of the UK Mini Fastnet, check out this video of the helicopter beach rescue of Mini 692, from the UK Solent race. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB1tbemharI
May 18, 2013
One UK Mini Fastnet race finished and stroked off of the list! 17 boats started the race and only 7 finished! I am now officially fully qualified for the 2013 Mini Transat Race. Stay tuned for a full account of the trials and tribulations of this year’s Mini Fastnet race.
May 12, 2013
The UK Mini Fastnet Race starts today! We’ve had a slight change of course. Rather than going west to east, we’re going east to west……woohoo! Watch Andrew and I on the Yellow Brick tracker go around Fastnet Rock in 25 knots of upwind bashing!
May 11, 2013
The UK Mini Fastnet Race starts tomorrow May 12, 2013 at noon! There will be a small in port race and then we will storm off to the Fastnet rock and up the Irish coast to the Conninberg Light and then back to Plymouth England. It’s going to be 560 miles of double handed upwind madness! Check out Andrew and I on the tracker and everyone else trying to finish this epic race. This is my final qualifying event to be fully qualified for the 2013 Mini Transat race. See you on the start line!
May 10, 2013
The UK Solent Race started in the north west corner of the isle of Wight with beautiful sunshine and 12 knots of wind to lead us out and around the island.
At the start line we had a short upwind leg and then made then hoisted our big kites for an amazing run to the east. We were second to the weather mark and first to get our kite up.
Then the Pogo2s really kicked in gear. Each production boat has their strengths and weaknesses. Our Zero is fast in light upwind work. Off the breeze and in the breeze unfortunately the Pogo2 is faster. The prototypes of course are WAY faster off the breeze. Check out this video of Mad Dog moving into the passing lane, flashing his lights and blasting off passing a Pogo 2 like it was standing still!
Next up we headed out to Poole. Here the wind got light…..too light. In the dark we just barely made it around the channel mark and the last of the breeze completely cut out. Unfortunately, the current was moving north east and was starting to speed up. Then we started to slide north,….back over the area we just sailed through! Quick…throw the anchor…..we’re going the wrong way! With the anchor set we decided to get a bit of sleep before the wind and current shifted and we were off again. Just at daylight the breeze built in and we were sailing around our anchor. Time to go! Andrew diligently started to lift the anchor. We were only in 30 feet of water and this should have been an easy task. Except when we tossed the anchor, it didn’t grab on the sandy bottom. Instead, it grabbed on the cross line of two crab pots that anchors them down to the bottom. As we pulled the anchor up we exposed the cross line of the pots and realized why it was sooooo heavy! UGH! With a quick capsize of the anchor while holding the cross line we were free and on our way. The other boats were mostly in sight, except for YellowFin. Yellow Fin was the other zero in the race. They had managed to get around the mark just before the wind died and kept their little upwind pocket rocket going and really legged out on the fleet. Our next leg took us to Eddystone….well, it took the rest of the fleet to Eddystone. The morning of the race start the course was posted. The course had been ammended slightly from the original information and Eddystone was added as a mark to take to Port. We didn’t realize that until it was almost too late, but we made a quick douse of the kite and climbed our way north and got around the mark. Unfortunately this put almost twenty miles between us and our competition! Time to start working our way back up the fleet. Throughout the rest of the race we were focused and kept pressing. We had loads of kite flying time in 20 knots of wind. With our small spinnaker up and a reef in the main we lost count of how many times we hit 14+ knots of boat speed! Andrew and I got around the western mark Wolf Rock, did a few tacks while the new breeze and 25 knots of wind built in on the nose. The waves built up and the sea got very very lumpy! Then the wind started to shift to the right and we really put the pedal down. Of the twenty miles we lost to Artemis, we gained back around 15, crossing the finish line just after Artemis and ahead of Blue One. Next up is the UK Fastnet race and our final leg of this qualifying journey for the 2013 Mini Transat race across the Atlantic Ocean. The Fastnet starts on Sunday May 12th.
May 4, 2013
One mast fixed with a new cast fitting for the spreader bracket! Good to go for tomorrow’s UK Solent Race. Follow us on the Yellobrick trackers
May 4, 2013
We’ve had a “minor setback”! Looks like the top spreader bracket decided to hold on just until reaching the dock in Lymington. It’s now broken in two pieces. Fortunately I have a spare and we’ve just come back from picking up the van in France, and have brought the spare bracket with us on the overnight ferry. It’s going to be a massive push to pull the rig off of the boat, remove the two brackets and sleeve on the new one, but Andrew has prepped everything and we should be good to start work as soon as I get there!
May 2, 2013
The UK Solent Race starts on Sunday May 5, 2013.
This will be a 290 mile race, double handed, through the Solent and out to Plymouth. Yet another epic navigation race! The tides in the Solent are famous. They squeeze massive amounts of water around the Isle of Wight sometimes at a rate upwards of four knots! Plus there are all the rocks, traffic and local wind effects that we all know and love so much! This is where the famous Cowes Week and RORC Rolex Fastnet Race all live and breath.
Our course starts in Lymington. With a lap around the isle of White we’ll head up through the Solent to the East and around No Man’s Land, a fort built in the late 1860s to protect Portsmouth at a small cost of about a half million pounds. Then it’s off to my friend The Needles! I should be able to see it this time in the daylight hopefully. Then it’s out to the English Channel to Wolfe Rock
where we make the big turn back up to Plymouth to finish the race.
This course may only have 11 boats registered, but the competition is going to be fierce. Almost everyone, with the exception of a couple of French boats, is a local. Born, bred and raised here, they cut their teeth on these tides and banks.
To keep up with all the fun and festivities, follow the race with the boat trackers. The trackers will come online probably the night before the race starts, but here’s the link.
Here’s the motley crew you’re all becoming familiar with.
Andrew my co-skipper is on the left and then myself. Katrina is holding strong next to me with her blue jumper on as she has lost her blue hat and is still waiting for her replacement blue hat to come. Then we have Nikki on the right anxiously waiting for the picture to be taken so she can get up her mast and sort out a few “wiring issues”. We’re almost ready to go!
April 30, 2013
Through rain, sleet, hail, becalmed against tide and massive cargo ships in the English Channel…..nothing could stop us! Katrina and I have sailed our boats up from Pornichet France to Lymington England. As usual, life and the delivery was filled with fun and excitement. The 320 mile run had us becalmed in two spots while we were against the tide, which wasn’t….as Katrina said “wasn’t in the brochure”. The first time was in the channel between Belle Ile and Quiberon. We must have sailed back and forth for two hours. The next becalmed spot was just before going around the outside of Ile D’ouessant and breaking out into the English channel. It was so calm and still that I literally slid backwards and lapped myself…loosing almost three miles! Not to mention that the boat was SOOOOO loaded with equipment, that I think we were sitting a full inch deeper in the water and incredibly slow for it. We also had two moments of hail. At one point the deck was completely covered in hail and slush! Gotta love wearing a dry suit….even if it’s in hail. Finally, we had a fantastic crossing of the English Channel. There was loads of traffic but the Icom AIS worked beautifully alerting me to all the traffic and where it was going. The last part of our adventure was coming into Lymington. Lymington is up the river in the Solent. You enter this whole mess at The Needles. This is The Needles.
The only complication to this part of the delivery was actually getting up past the Needles and into the Solent….in the dark…..without a full proper chart! Katrina received a special order of charts the day before we left. The only problem was that they actually missed the chart of the Needles and the Solent. So we had to manage with the information in the Almanac and a screen shot of the chart off of her phone!
Entering looks simple enough on the right, but a little scary if you get too close. On the other hand, off to the left is a mass of underwater obstructions that looks like this. Underwater obstructions at less than a meter, rips, tide, race marks and a narrow little channel to get in. Plus, we were going to arrive at night with the wind possibly on the nose. Luckily when we did get there we could just fetch the channel…. barely and we still had the tide with us rather than against! I had to use a sector light to follow, multiple cardinals and channel marks. If the wind had been any further left, I would have had to tack back and forth while watching sector lights. Complicated to say the least! But, I had Katrina behind me in her boat, who had been through dozens of times, and my anchor at the ready if things went pear shaped. Slowly we made our way up the channel. The appropriate lights were on either side of me and the sector light was white..Phew! ok, crack off a little to give some breathing room. Woops! The sector light almost instantly went green…..too far right…gotta tighten back up right away! Slowly the sector light went back to white and all was good. Past the first mark….then the next and the next. Our tow boat and race organizer was on the other side ready to take us up the river to our new home for the next few days. Never a dull moment!
Follow the UK Solent race starting on Sunday!!!
April +26, 2013
Delay of Game! We’re waiting one more day for a better weather window….to head to England. It will be mostly reaching in the rain rather than upwind in 20 knots! waayyy better plan!