So the first regatta with EclectiC is a fact.
The weather was great (we could have done with a bit more and steadier breeze), the fleet of a high level and the crew great.
I only arrived on Wednesday morning and after a mere 2 hours of sleep it was time for a training session. After 5 minutes out on the water I was already soaked to the bone (not the fault of the MPX Race-gear) but sailing on the bay out of Trinité sur Mer was very nice.
A long clean up and some work on the boat later we had dinner and it was off to bed. Thursday was another day of practice, this time with the full crew (including our navigator for the regatta Wouter Verbraak). And when we left the boat she was all ready to race.
Prior to my arrival some of the crew had been trying to work on the hull and appendages (fairing them and getting it symmetrical) and it made a bit of difference… Still it only came as far as trying…
Friday and the first day of the regatta. A bit late for the start and stuck in bad air as a result. Our high mast helped us getting out of the bad place, but boats with a lower rating were sailing along side of us. Shifting gears were not up to the required level, but overall the handling of the boat was not bad. After the first race, the RC decided not to start again in a (building) 8 knot breeze… Result: 13th
Saturday started with a ‘course super banane’ (W/L-course) were we started more aggressively, were in the first line and with clean air could get of the line well. Again we did not make any fuck-ups and we had learned the boat a bit better. Result 12th, not bad in a fleet of 46 boats with several known IRC-winners and great crews.
The second race was a ‘course cotiere’ (a race around set buoys). A good start was not rewarded when the wind died and over 200 boats piled up at the leeward mark. To save the boat in this carnage the engine was started and we retired. The winner finished very late, we got a DNS (instead of a RET/DNF) and were not allowed redress for taking action against collision.
Sunday and another beautiful day. Race 1 saw us again starting well and we found the gear shifter and worked it well. No mistakes, good crew work and an 11th place as a result.
The second race was like the first only this time it resulted in a 13th place. For the day we had a good feeling about our sailing, but it was all a bit disappointing looking at the results, for sure our rating is no gift and the boat definitely needs some work to the bottom.
Monday -the final day- and one race to do. The first start we were over early, but at the same time everyone was. The second start was good; I got almost hit by a boom of a windward boat that did not stay clear but again a first line start. A good beat and well sailed downwind followed by another good lap of the course… Then it all went bananas. In the last leg (upwind to the finish) we didn’t choose the right way to sail and the wind completely died. From the fleet of 46 boats, only 11 managed to finish the race in time…
After the race it was time to change the boat into the delivery-mode. Whilst motoring back all the sails were packed and ready to leave the boat and while the boat got filled up with gasoline we all ran back and forth with stuff between the boat and the van. A last night on the town (also the first…) and Tuesday driving back home.
21 and 22 April is the next regatta, Van Uden Reco, and we should be able to perform well after the learning session in France.
Here are some pics:
And some video of ‘Spi Ouest’ can be found here.
(or direct links to the video: http://sailingnewstv.mypodcasts.net/audio/sailingnewstv-2007-04-07-69954.mp4 : http://sailingnewstv.mypodcasts.net/audio/sailingnewstv-2007-04-07-71963.mp4 : http://sailingnewstv.mypodcasts.net/audio/sailingnewstv-2007-04-07-73960.mp4 : http://sailingnewstv.mypodcasts.net/audio/sailingnewstv-2007-04-09-64276.mp4)