A thank you message to all that helped us restart for leg 3 of the GOR

We have now been at sea for 2 full days and slowly getting back in the
swing of ocean life, daily food bags, sail changes, position reports, naps
and snacks... the start of this leg was far from simple for us with lots
of little snags to worry about, the brand new spare NKE wind wand started
throwing an error before even leaving the dock, but too late to do
anything about it, the master alternator wasn't initially charging the
batteries, the ballast pump didnt respond and the mast navigation and deck
lights would not work on the first night...

When we left Wellington harbour in about 10 knots of wind we were caught
completely by surprise finding 35 knots just outside, probably
Wellington's way of waving us goodbye.

Marco Nannini wins Italian Sailor of the year award

Marco Nannini, currently racing the double handed Global Ocean Race (GOR) 2011/2012, has been crowned Italian Sailor of the year by "Il Giornale della Vela", the most established italian sailing magazine. The prestigious award was first established in 1991 and has recognised talent over the years including sailors such as Alessandra Sensini, Giovanni Soldini and Francesco Deangelis.

Last few hours to cast vote for Italian Sailor of the year!

Only a few hours left for the online vote for the italian Sailor of the year, if you haven't done so please visit this page and scroll to bottom to cast your vote:

http://www.giornaledellavela.com/content/html/index.php?s=Velista_dellAnno&page=nodeDetail&idRecord=15185

Winning the award would probably lead to a few interviews and who knows maybe even a few doors opening in the future... 

Thank you all for the support!

 

Leading the online vote for Italian Sailor of the Year award - Thanks!

A quick update to thank all of you who have taken the time to vote for me on the online poll which will award the coveted "Giornale della Vela" Sailor of the year award (Giornale della Vela is the the first and most prestigeous Italian sailing magazine).

An update from windy Wellington

Many cities in the world have a reputation for being windy, but Wellington has to be the windiest place i have ever visited! It's the middle of the summer here and despite the sunshine and pleasant temperatures the wind has been a constant feature of this beautiful city: in the past three days it has been absolutely screaming, traffic lights are shaken, flags are shredded to pieces and people walk at funny angles depending on which side the wind is hitting them. 

Wellington has been incredibly welcoming to all of us skippers in the Global Ocean Race and so many have come forward offering to help, within days we were offered free accommodation and a car to borrow, sails were picked from the boat and are being repaired...

Celebrations in Wellington after a tough second leg of the Global Ocean Race

The VHF finally broke its month long silence just before 6pm, Josh Hall on the committee boat is calling. "Financial Crisis, we have you in sight, we are coming towards you, well done, you are in Wellington!".

Hi speed chase continues and claims another spinnaker in morning red mist

It looks like 2012 started just like 2011 had finished, with a big mess,
another spinnaker blown and trashed in the water, this time the masthead
A2 spinnaker, the biggest one... somewhere somehow there was a weak point
as it finally blew in mild 18-20 knots conditions, went overboard and gave
us a horrible time in trying to retrieve it...

Spinnaker trashed in high speed chase

We had been doing great all night shaving mile after mile from Halvard
Mabire and Miranda Merron's lead over us, we were flying the smallest
spinnaker, a bullet proof job called the A5, a sail that can be used even
if 40 knots of wind, which is not far from what we had, sustained 30-35,
the usual treatment down here... until disaster struck, the halyard parted
and the sail went down into the water.

Halvard and Miranda were 750 miles ahead of us just a few days back, and
with a bit of luck but also by pushing very hard we brought down the gap
to under 240 miles, a 510 miles catch up!

Five hundred miles to Cook Strait, the anticipation builds

We are sailing in a lovely sunshine, broad reaching towards the northern
tip of South island, New Zealand of course, some 500 miles to the North
East of us.

Rogue wave 23kt surf ends in crash gybe and broken mainsail battens

So here we are in yet another 45 knots stinker, making excellent progress
under staysail and reefed main, occasionally surfing high teens. The front
came and went and we were left with that nasty situation where you have
massive seas and decreasing winds...

Finally into the trade winds

The struggle to reach the stable trade winds seems to have lasted an
eternity, the fleet progress has been very slow compared to the schedule
we had imagined when leaving Punta del Este and only Cessna at the front
has been keeping steady averages since reaching these steady winds a day
ahead of us.

So far and for several days we seemed to have fairly stable winds at night
then we'd get stopped during the day in flukey winds and sudden rain
showers caused presumably by the high temperatures and moist air becoming
unstable. This morning for the first time the winds held strong after
sunrise and the sky is unmistakeably changed, little white fluffy clouds
are scattered regularly around instead of massive cumulus formations
typical of the unstable air masses of the last few days, see the photo for
an example.

We've emerged from this section of the race in second place squeezing a
lead of 60 miles over Phesheya, our gamble to go offshore at Cabo Frio
paid off eventually. I think we can now expect a drag race to the doldrums
where things could get shaken again. I may be wrong so we'll certainly
keep a watchful eye on the Dutch and the Southafrincans and try cover our
backs from a likely attack...

We had a few issues with the NKE electronics suddenly losing the boat
speed reading, then the compass reading, all misteriously working again by
simply powering off an on the system, luckily all the problems occurred
in light airs and not while sailing with the big spinnaker in strong winds
like during leg 3 when a similar failure caused the boat to go off in a
big gybe resulting in the big spinnaker to be torn in half (and
subsequently repaired in Punta del Este).

Another misterious source of worry came from the primary alternator we
rely on to charge the batteries, for 2 consecutive days it seemed to have
given up the ghost, only to wake up gingerly this morning and resume
service as if nothing had ever happened.

So far, save for a spinnaker sheet which I quite stupidly lost overboard
during a manouvre we havent really had any damage or serious problems,
let's hope things carry on like this to make Charleston a stress free and
cheap stopover. The budget has long ago been totally depleted. In Punta we
were being hosted in free accommodation by the Yacht Club Punta del Este
and for the other expenses i relied on the generosity of many readers who
have sent donations through www.marconannini.com/help which i'm very
grateful for. We're hoping to find a host family during our relatively
brief Charleston stopover and hopefully the price of food will be no where
near the inflated prices of Punta del Este where an espresso could cost
over 3 euros! For now we're getting in the swing of our freeze dried diet,
the last fresh item, an apple, was eaten yesterday.