It's a ra..ra..rally but the results are ...
20 November 2018
We finally arrived in Mindelo at midday on Saturday. The last 48 hours at sea were very easy; flat seas and light winds and no more squalls. We mostly flew our downwind sail and steadily edged away from Skyfall (a similar sized catamaran, Lagoon 450F) with whom we'd been in close company for much of the leg.
Just before dawn Mike and Sarah saw the lights of the Cape Verde islands and as the sun came up we could clearly see the jagged volcanic peaks of the archipelago some 30 miles away. Over the final few hours we saw more and more ARC+ boats as the fleet converged on the finish at Mindelo. We crossed the finish line, between a headland and an off-lying rock, at 1203 UTC; 5 days and 22 hours sailing for just under 900 miles. I've always been exhausted after a long trip but plenty of sleep in the calm conditions and lots of water for showers meant that we arrived fresh.
The marina organisation was super efficient so we were soon berthed stern to on a long emply pontoon which had been cleared for the fleet. We were soon ensconced in the floating bar at the end of the dock downing a cold beer and comparing notes with the other early finishers.
As always there was work to be done on the boat but mostly minor for us. The pontoons were soon filled with sails; nearly everyone has had some repairs to make with their spinnakers or halliards.
Our echosounder had failed to come back to life when we reached the coast (it can't pick up the depth in 4000m of water but should do when we are back under 100m), testing showed that the unit had failed. It's not much of a safety issue for now. Within 5 minutes of leaving the dock we will be in over 200 metres of water and it will stay that way until St Lucia. We also have a second forward scanning sonar in the other hull which provides depth readings and is working, we will display this data on our instruments.
We checked our temporary lashings we had made during the first night on the downwind sail and discovered there was more chafe, this time surprisingly from inside the lashings. We spent two hours taking both head and tack apart and discovered that the thimbles (metal eyes) at each end of the furling cable had very sharp edges under the lashing (not really fit to be used on a sail like this). We've reinforced the protection both under and over the lashings and are now fairly confident they should last the Atlantic crossing.
Finally we hoisted Lucy up the mast again to check the rig and also shortened the spinnaker halliard by 50cm to move the wear points slightly. No issues found and we are ready for the next leg.
Over the weekend the boats continued to arrive, many having to motor in order to arrive by the deadline of 1730 on Sunday. Last night we had the prizegiving a local hall., another great party and chance to catch up with many of the new friends we have been making on other boats.
Each boat's potential speed is assessed before the event, a speed rating is calculated by the organisers based on factors such as the dimensions of the boat, the sail area and type of sails carried and the weight. This time correction factor or TCF is used to adjust each boat's time to allow fair performance to be measured between the fleet. In normal yacht racing we have to sail the whole time, on this rally you can use your motor but at the finish the skippers then declare to the organisers how long they were used for and the speed when motoring, a penalty time is then applied for the time and distance covered under motor. This is why the leaderboards you will be seeing on the tracker doesn't tell the whole story on the competition. Lifeaholic who led most of the way, was actually motoring for over 100 hours (most of the way) and finished right at the back of the fleet on corrected time.
We knew that we would have to finish between 2 and 12 hours ahead of the other multihulls to beat them on corrected time as we were rated as the second fastest boat in the fleet behind the large trimaran Tri2Fly. The German team on Skyfall rate slightly slower and finished 90 minutes behind us. We knew they'd motored more than us but not how much so we knew that the result would be close. The results were announced ... Crean third place, Skyfall second and a very delighted Offbeat crew first, 2.5 hours ahead on corrected time!
Unfortunately we can't remember much of the rest of the night...the rum punches were rather strong!! The Skyfall crew have been diving under their boat to clean the bottom and challenge issued for the next leg....it's clear that they are ra...ra..racing!