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...

Closing the circle

I'm finally back in London, I guess this really closes the circle. Yesterday Ella and I arrived in Haslar Marina in Portsmouth Harbour after a rather tough delivery. I must admit I'm really glad to be back, it's been a tough long past 10 months and after the great adventure some normality seems a real luxury.

We left Les Sables D'Olonne on the 17th with a rather mild forecast but found ourselves crashing to windward in 30 knots of northerly wind and a nasty swell on the first night. The following day the wind dropped completely and we motored from the Raz de Sein and through the Canal de Four all the way to St Peter Port where we had to stop to refuel... Unfortunately the fuel pump was closed so we ended up staying overnight and had to wait till the following afternoon for the tide to rise again enough to get to the fuel pontoon when it was open and then find a favourable current north through the Little Russel channel and towards the UK. The weather didnt play ball and a 20knots reach that we had as forecast turned out to be a solid beat all the way to the Isle of Wight with winds up to 35knots in absolute horrible weather and through constant thunderous squalls.

One squall in particular caught us totally unawares, I saw a very dense cloud approaching us on the radar, we were sailing with reefed main and staysail so I didnt think any action was required when suddenly the boat leaned over and the wind instruments read 40 the 50 then 60 knots while I watched in disbelief, the top gust was 65 knots!!! It all lasted less than 30 seconds and i thought i'd get to the cockpit to find all sails trashed but luckily there was no damage... I found it increadible that after sailing around the whole world I recorded the highest gust just 10 miles from home south of the Isle of Wight, perhaps the moral of the whole story is that we need to go away and see the four corners of the whole world to understand what we already have right there under our nose at home. 

The next few months will be about figuring out what's next, finding that elusive balance between dreams, ambitions, mortgages and bills, but I feel anything is possible and the right path will soon reveal itself. 

A massive thanks to all those who wrote messages of congratulations, it is truly wonderful to have been able to share this race with so many.