Breaking news from Cape Town - Financial Crisis to announce crew change for leg two of GOR

We have been in Cape Town for a week so here is a long overdue update following the emotional finish with the glorious sight of Table Mountain in the background. One of the first comments that race director Josh Hall shared with me was that the crews arriving in this edition of the Global Ocean Race were far more tired and exhausted than three years ago, I was totally drained so I was not surprised to hear this, the battle for the podium in the final stages of the race pushed us to new limits and claimed all residual energies. It has taken me several days to feel anywhere near normal, and with no lack of celebrations and social gatherings it has been even more difficult to catch up with sleep. 

A night of drama and a hard fought podium result into Cape Town

This is just a brief message to say that we've crossed the finish line to take third in the first leg of the Global Ocean Race managing to keep Cessna behind to the finish. Paul and I are absolutely exhausted but incredibly delighted. We have given absolutely all we had to give to achieve this result... It was not as straight forward as it first may seem, however close the battle was on the tracker drama unfolded thickening the plot in the darkest hours of the night. Just after the 9pm position report we had gained just enough miles to start believing it was going to be possible, we had 22 miles lead with 150 to go and at that stage we were better positioned relative to the finish line and polling higher speeds.

Less than a thousands miles to go

We just broke through the barrier of the 1000 miles to go to Cape Town,
it's still a lot and the pressure is high, Cessna is 114 miles behind at
the last ping but they are giving it all averaging over 12 knots now and
curving fast onto the rhumb line.

Southern Ocean sailing at its best

The Southern Ocean with its albatrosses and deep sea creatures is treating
us well, we are sailing on the edge of a high pressure system in following
winds and a pleasant spring sunshine, we have been averaging more than 10
knots for a couple of days now covering many miles towards Cape Town.

Fast miles towards Tristan da Cunha

First of all big congratulations to Ross and Campbell Field, and to Halvard
Mabire and Miranda Merron for their first leg achievement, all winners in my
eyes for their display of experience, determination and skill in negotiating
their route to Cape Town.

We have turned the corner, I feel, in this endless leg to Cape Town, our sails
are finally free, we are heading towards Tristan da Cunha which we intend to
leave well to port before progressively curving in towards Cape Town. Boat
speed is in the nines and tens and should get in the regular tens once the wind
frees a little bit further.

Stars, water, and this and that

After a windless night where frustration run high we picked some wind
restoring some of the lost faith in the concept of sailing a freaking boat
from A to B without murdering anyone. I sometimes shout my lungs out to
the elements, not so much with Paul on the boat, as once I scared the
living shit out of him as he woke from deep sleep to a shouting maniac,
but when I sailed solo I was definitely all for cursing as loudly as
possible, creatively cursing, the godless clouds, the dolphins and the
birds and whatever comes at hand, as a form of cathartic therapy, until
you feel better or the wind comes back.

Ghosting and drifting with the Ciccio's Code

A month into the first leg of the Global Ocean Race and we are negotiating
a high pressure system right in our path, preventing us from making any
progress towards Cape Town.

The weather gave me a chance to climb the mast and see what happened with
the wind instruments.

Straight to Cape Town? Computer says no

We are now into our fifth week at sea, tomorrow it'll be a month we'left
Palma, it's a bloody long time! Longer than I have ever been, with 22 days
at the Route du Rhum my previous longest... Yet, here, with the current
complex forecast, we estimate another two whole weeks before we get into
Cape Town, two more weeks of blocking away images of steaks and chips,
beer, hot showers, a bed, clean clothes, a decent coffee with a nice
croissant, freshly squeezed orange juice, I even dare say salad (but
definitely not high on the list!)....

Back to basics on Financial Crisis after loss of wind instruments

Short blog today, just after sunset yesterday all hell broke loose like
someone had pressed a giant button that said mayhem. The wind very
suddenly piped up from 20 to 30 knots, we were pinned down with too much
sail and took a while to restore order. Once reefed and taking a pasting
in the winds and waves we lost the wind readings on the NKE instruments. At
first I thought I could fix it, we had already lost our primary,
vertical wind instrument in the doldrums and were running on the
spare, sturdy horizontal so i hoped it was just a wiring problem, i spent
hours below rewiring the little boxes but to no avail, I did at least
manage to restore the use of the autopilot in compass mode.

Weather for ducks and... chocolate

We are beating our brains to mash into the south-easterlies, not too bad
so far, staysail and one reef in solid 20 knots, boat slamming, waves
crashing across the cockpit, it's wet out there, cant find a strong enough
reason to be there, sleeping under a warm duvet seems just fine as the
autopilot battles the freaking elements, no traces of any shipping,
radar reflector and AIS totally silent. I think it is safe to say we
are in the middle of freaking no where. Even Paul who normally is in the
cockpit unless is taking a nap or eating is finding the comforts of the
port master cabin to be far more agreeable then the jet wash in the
garden.

Life after the GOR: Class40s, Minis and the idea of a Italian training camp...

 

WHAT HAVE I BEEN UP TO?

It's been a while since i last posted an update. When not rounding the Horn, I found the cold winter months are best spent in front of a cosy fire with a good glass of wine and good non-freeze-dried food. Following the Global Ocean Race (GOR) 2011/2012 I have been invited to several yacht clubs in Italy to hold talks about my adventure and tribulations on board my Class40 "Financial Crisis". I held talks in Torino, Padova, Verona, Vicenza, Molfetta, Meina, Lovere as well as for the Soroptimist club in Turin and the Rotary Club in Padova. Next week a further date on the calendar, 4th of April, in Genova, Italy and then onto Bologna in May.

Luckily it has not just been talking, and at the end of February I was part of a group of sailors who organised an event to discover Class40s, despite a dreadfully windy and snowy weekend, apparently the worst the locals had seen since 1985, the event was a success and over 150 guests were taken for a blast in the Gulf of La Spezia aboard five Class40s. This promotional event left many begging for more adrenaline and we now offer the opportunity to sail Class40s out of Portovenere, La Spezia, for day long or weekend experiences as well as giving the opportunity to take part in some of the races on the calendar in the area, such as the 151 Miles race which starts on the 30th of May. La Spezia is just an hour away from the airport of Pisa, one of Ryanair's European hubs and flights from London can be as cheap as £25 so if you wish to enjoy a bit of the Italian "Bella Vita" drop me an email for a calendar of all events. 

THE FUTURE

It is difficult to have a clear idea of what the future will hold, I am not campaigning towards a specific race as sponsorships seem to be to scarce to attempt putting together a budget for a big race.

DEVELOPING A TRAINING CAMP?

My boat is still for sale and despite a few serious sniffers I have not yet received a firm offer, one option brewing in the pot is to sail the boat to italy and use her as a training boat and work towards the creation of a french style training camp. Achieving that would require local support, from the authorities, or from the Navy who used to be based in La Spezia but has now moved to Taranto, leaving tremendous amounts of facilities, pontoons, accommodation, storage, all falling progressively into a state of abandon and which would be perfect to kickstart a project of this type. However, you might have noticed italian politics is not exactly linear in its processes, so finding the right support may prove impossible despite the ample availability of infrastructures. 

METEOROLOGY AND SAFETY

Meanwhile, whilts trying to put together a wider plan, I am starting to put together some shore based courses, the first inaugural one will be held on the 27th of April on Meteorology, later in the season I plan to offer also course on other subjects such as safety. 

MINI 650 RACING

As for the sailing itch, the incomprehensible attraction for the wet and the uncomfortable, I am lucky enough to have been invited to sail at the Arcipelato 6.50 race for Mini Transat boats later this week with American skipper Jeffrey MacFarlane. I have never sailed on a mini but I am reassured they are tremensously uncomfortable, brilliant! Tracking at http://www.sgstracking.com/tracking/arcipelago650-2012.php

For further information contact me at marco@marconannini.com or on +393204093306