Severe weather forecast for Cape Horn in 48 hours

Our moment of glory as leaders of the Global Ocean Race was short-lived,
as predicted the reaching conditions favoured the newer more powerful
Cessna who simply pulled away averaging 1-2 knots faster despite our every
effort to bear away and sail as fast as possible. Now finally the wind has
turned round and we are sailing downwind but unfortunately we are paying
the price of our torn masthead spinnaker so again we are losing ground,
we'll need a bit of luck after the horn for a chance to catch up again.

Today however my thoughts are far more preoccupied with something else,
there's a storm brewing due to be sweep across Cape Horn exactly at the
same time as we expect to go round.

A day I'll never forget

Finally our dive to penguin latitudes paid its dividends and today we
jumped in the lead of the third leg of the Global Ocean Race with a lead
of 30 miles over Cessna Citation who had chosen a more northerly option.
We are still on full time radar watch for icebergs, the risk of finding
one on our way should be progressively decreasing but water temperature is
at the lowest we've seen at just 6C, air temperature is 4C and with the
wind chill we had the dubious pleasure of fine snow earlier today.

We are obviously incredibly happy, 6 months ago I would have never even
entertained the possibility of leading the race on the approach to Cape
Horn, we are savouring the moment like a rare whiskey but we are under no
illusion that we will be able to maintain our lead, we will certainl

A game of chess with Cessna

In a few miles we'll touch the latitude of 60 degrees south, it sounds
quite frightening but my cure is to remember that when I sailed the
Shetland Round Britain and Ireland in 2010 we were in higher latitudes in
the northern hemisphere, I guess what makes here so overwhelming is the
sense of isolation but if you say to yourself i'm sailing around the
Shetlands it does not sound quite as horrible! We are 1000 miles from Cape
Horn and as soon as the wind will turn it should soon become a fast ride
to our next stop.

The battle with Cessna continues on the high seas, yesterday our opponents
decided to break the cover and tacked north-east for about 8 hours. We
welcomed their move as we know that as long as we are in the same winds we
cannot beat a latest generation boat.

Southern ocean battle continues with light winds and icebergs sightings

Yesterday a brief email from Cessna some 50 miles to our port (to the
north of us) brought home the reality of our current position on the
planet. They had just spotted two icebergs, Antarctica is just over 1000
miles to the south of us and although we are out of dense iceberg
territory a few bergs survive long into the summer and drift north towards
our current position which was confirmed by recent satellite imagery. We
are keeping a constant radar lookout and visually inspect the horizon
regularly.

Closing the gap and battling it for the lead of the Global Ocean Race

Who would have imagined that in the third and most symbolic of legs,
heading for Cape Horn, we would be battling for the lead of the Global
Ocean Race. The storms of the early part of this leg seem now a distant
memory, two boats retired in huge seas and 50 knots winds. Today in the
southern depths of the Pacific Ocean at 55 degrees south, on the edge of
iceberg territory we are sailing in sunshine, flat waters and just enough
wind, 6-8 knots, to keep moving. Most importantly today marks a massive
come back for us, we closed a 284 miles gap to Cessna Citation and at the
last position report we were trailing the brand new latest generation boat
skippered by Conrad Colman by less than 2 miles.

Hard earned celebrations after crossing scoring gate

After nearly two weeks of hard core sailing, the best part of which spent
beating upwind in very tough conditions, including an early force 9 storm
that prompted two boats to retire, we are finally through the scoring
gate taking 2nd place.

Spinnaker trashed following autopilot malfunction

After what seemed like an eternal time spent beating upwind the last 48
hours have finally given us some following winds and faster sailing
conditions.

No respite in South Pacific horrible windward weather

This leg will be remembered as the ultimate test of patience and
resilience, it's been just over a week since we left Wellington, two boats
have turned around and headed back in the first big South Pacific blow
whilst we pressed on with the full knowledge that it was not going to get
better any time soon.

South Pacific storm brings drama to the plot

If this were a movie the last two days would have made for some nice drama
on the high seas, imagine the context, a fleet of racing boats headed for
Cape Horn, a South Pacific gale battering the fleet, huge waves crashing
against the boat through the night, the constant noise of haliards hitting
the mast, leech lines flapping, autopilot ram overloaded, water sloshing
in the bilges, the smell of your own boots turning your stomach inside
out, wet, cold, miserable...

The sat phone rings, no one has ever called us on the satphone, you
suspect it will not be Bart Simpson pulling one of his Moe's phone pranks,
who is it then? Another competitor on the end of the blurred satellite
line sounding emotional sums the reality of the situation "we are
considering retiring".

A day in paradise, a day in hell

The first few days of the race, once out of Cook Strait, have been
relatively easy sailing, reaching then downwind in moderate seas clocking
good mileage every poll, we were happy with our choice of heading further
south at the beginning which paid very well as now we have a lead of over
70 miles over Phesheya, our direct peer with an identical boat (although I
undertand they had an issue with a spinnaker).

Marco Nannini launches Italian yachting operations after GOR

Gulf of La Spezia, Italy, July 2013

After a 14 day delivery from the UK to Italy, my dad and I docked at "Marina del Fezzano", the location I have chosen to set up my italian yachting operations, dedicated to offshore yacht sailing and racing using the Akilaria RC1 Class40 I sailed into second place at the 2011/2012 Global Ocean Race.  

AN IDEAL OFFSHORE BOAT

Mowgli is the official registered name of the Class40 I skippered under various colours and names associated with my sponsors, such as "Sungard", then "Unicredit" and "Eutourist" and when the going got tough and sponsorship scarce I jokingly renamed her "Financial Crisis". Launched in 2007, this boat holds an enviable track record and is to date the only Class40 to have completed successfully two circumnavigations of the globe, first in the 2008/2009 Global Ocean Race where she was third overall and again in 2011/2012 where we were second. She was also raced in several other international events, starting from the 2007 Transat Jacque Vabre, the 2010 Shetland Round Britain and Ireland and the 2010 Route du Rhum.

Mowgli is now kitted out for corporate and training activities, with a large and safe cockpit and 8 real berths below she's an ideal training boat for offshore yacthing activites. Class40s have evolved: it's time for Mowgli to leave the international Class racing scene where she is no longer competitive against the newer boats and enjoy a well deserved retirement in sunny Mediterranean weather after nearly 100 thousand miles of racing! 

A PRESTIGEOUS LOCATION

Chosing the right location to set up my operations has not been easy, but ultimately we chose the stunning and immaculate setting of Marina del Fezzano, a private Marina on the west side of the Gulf of La Spezia, a location easily accessible by car from the whole of the north and central Italy, and under an hour away from the International Pisa Airport with several cheap flights landing every day from the UK. The Gulf of La Spezia, with excellent thermal winds in the summer and a breakwater that allows sheltered sailing within the bay even in the most severe weather, is already the base for many sailing schools and the most logical choice for this venture. 

A PROGRAMME DEDICATED TO OFFSHORE SAILING

The operations will be dedicated to offshore sailing and all that revolves around it: starting from introduction courses on Class40s, training weekends, longer offshore navigation and, in the future, participation in Mediterranean offshore races. The goal is to involve other boats too, offering fleet training and fleet racing as well as shore based courses on safety, meteorology and other relevant topics. 

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EMERGING SAILORS

The base will hopefully provide additional opportunities for emerging sailors who may not have the budget for their own Class40, I am looking for instructors to act as co-skippers and, in future, skippers as well as people to help out on all other aspects of launching and running a trining centre. 

A FUTURE TO BE SHARED

Every yachting activity relies heavily on a network of trusted suppliers and partners and whilst a first programme of activities is being drafted I am working in the background to secure vital partnerships with key players that I think will have an interest in being part of this project. 

AWAITING A FULL CALENDAR OF ACTIVITIES

Whilst a full calendar is being defined, for those who find themselves stuck in an office during this fantastic summer, I have berths available for two sailing weekends on 3rd-4th and 10th-11th11 August as well as a longer offshore trip between 15th and 18th August. Contact me for info and bookings. 

ADDITIONAL INFO

For additional info contact me on marco@marconannini.com or call me on  +393204093306.