CLIPPER Race ambassador blog 3
Race 2: Puerto Sherry to Punta del Este
Life on board
Race 2 was predominantly downwind after the short sprint west from Puerto Sherry to the Atlantic, and the final stretch beating into headwinds to the finish. That meant spinnakers flying night and day.
We came second in the race to the scoring gate. The battle for 2nd and 3rd between us (PSP Logistics) and Yacht Club Punta del Este was exciting. We were within 100 metres of each other of the last few miles and a crafty gybe by us on Punta’s bow followed by a cat and mouse chase to the line was high intensity action. We crossed the gate with only 200 metres before the end of the line! And the whole second race itself: we came an admirable third, steaming in on Punta del Este and Perseverance in the final week. They must have felt us breathing down their neck. Our first of hopefully many podiums.
Race 2 also saw our first equator crossing near the doldrums. We held a ceremony to welcome pollywogs into the realm of shellbacks. I’m now in a small community of people who have crossed the equator by boat!
Avoiding ‘kitemares’ on this race was constant learning. At the helm, vigilance watching the edges of the kite, the bow, COG, apparent wind angle, changing wind direction and swell helped protect the spinnaker and reduced the risk of a dreaded wrap and/or tear. This worked in unison with the grinders and trimmer who managed the spinnaker sheets, which I learnt could be either under tension or not – depending on the situation and what the helm was trying to achieve. We also have two types of Marlow Ropes spinnaker sheets: lightweight sheets for general conditions and more heavy-duty sheets for stronger wind conditions like the gale storm we skirted around. These were surprisingly easy to handle for their size.
Water is a precious resource. Less than 3% of the worlds water is potable. Luckily, we have a water maker on board the Clipper Race yachts. However, that doesn’t reduce the need to think about how we use this scarce resource that takes energy to produce. We wash dishes in salt water, and when it comes to ourselves, we do not shower for each individual race, choosing to ‘bird bath’ instead. Water used for cooking food can be used to make gravy. Every drop counts across this big blue ocean.