Blog 20 - Windmills, Clogs, and Race Start
15 July 2010 | Holland
Well here we are in IJumuiden, Holland (about 40 minutes outside Amsterdam). This was a short stopover, and really only scheduled as a muster point for the fleet after Cork, and before we head to the grand finale in Hull. Our race into Ijmuiden was much faster than anticipated. Therefore the crews had a little time to relax and explore!
The night of our arrival was probably the best night I have had with the clipper gang since I joined the boat! It was random and we partied with the Singas mostly, and it was a blast! Sadly, we all know it was one of our last times to enjoy time together on shore! (besides this weekend after the finish!)
I did take a day and make the trip into Amsterdam. Another city I had not yet been to. Unfortunately, there was so much to do, and huge crowds everywhere, I didn't get to do any of the historic or scenic things I had desired. Which only means I'll have to come back sooner than later!
Anyway, back to the sailing.... We slipped lines at 4pm only to allow the race committee to catch their flights to Hull. And then the fleet just bobbed and lingered outside of the marina for over 3 hours, waiting to start the race. We couldn't start immediately due to the high winds expected; we would then arrive in Hull at the finish line before the arranged time! Sounds like a huge hassle and inconvenience right? Well yeah... all the waiting around is a drag and can often get everyone's mind wandering and off the focus of the race. The weather forecast called for high winds 35-40 knots for the first 12 hours, and knowing the English Channel, that meant rough seas and steep chop! The excitement of the race was all fresh on our minds that morning, but maybe the forecast and the stress of the last race got to us a little. There were some errors and disaster across the fleet just prior to the race start, which only added to the overall Clipper scene!
I'll start by saying where we stand in the overall standing... we're in 3rd, with Team Finland only 8 points a head, leading Jamaica by 5 points (which we gained on the last race! waHoo!) and Hull & Humber are trailing us by 8. So for an overall podium finish, we need to maintain our lead over Jamaica and H&H to ensure third position overall. However, while we lingered waiting to start yesterday, Team Finland shredded the lower portion of their mainsail! It was devastating to the crew onboard, I'm sure, but raised a little excitement onboard Cape Breton! Opening a HUGE window for a second position over all! The race start was then delayed due to main halyard failure on Uniquely Singapore! Finally near 8pm local time, we were all lined up and ready for our La Mans start out of Holland.
Cape Breton drew the best windward position in the line up and knew it would be a huge advantage over the fleet. So as we hoisted our headsails simultaneously with the rest of the fleet, we noticed our Yankee sheets tied to our staysail and vice versa! What a nightmare! We had to drop both sails, sort the lines, as the rest of the fleet increased speed and gained a lead!
Very frustrating indeed! It was one small error, and we're paying for it now! Currently Jamaica is just off our starboard bow, with marginally faster speeds, and there is about 5 others ahead of us. As my watch ended, I wanted to stay up, but it is too stressful. I think I need the sleep more! It's a close and intense race... so much up for grabs! Cross your fingers, we need to gain those miles back!