Happy Christmas from the Southern Ocean

In the unlikely setting of a sunny Southern Ocean day, flying the biggest
spinnaker under a blue sky, we dream of home, of friends, family and loved
ones (and beer and steak).

It's friday and you'll be heading home to your families soon so we thought
we'd send you our best wishes for a Happy Christmas!

Ciao!
Marco & Hugo

Send us a message at www.marconannini.com/sms or send us a present at
www.marconannini.com/help

Surfing into the Pacific Ocean and a reminder of our luck

Yesteday we passed Cape Leeuwin, about 500 miles to our north and have
now, geographically speaking, entered the Pacific Ocean...

Battered by strongest winds yet! Riding the storm

There we go, did i mention anytime over the past few days that this
freaking place is a bit windy? We are running under triple reefed mainsail
and staysail and earlier we got flattened on the side like a dinghy in a
gust that read 57.8 knots on the one surviving wind instrument... This
hopefully is not meant to last long, and it'd better not as we are sailing
at full speed towards the ice limit at 45S, if the wind does not drop soon
we are in trouble, i dont want to have to sail any higher in this sort of
winds but we are not allowed to sail south of 45S, we'll have to make a
call if these conditions persist.

War of attrition: Southern Ocean damage

I may sound boring if i reiterate that we're still in 35-40 knots of wind,
we have not seen anything less than 25 and anything up to 55 for the past
week and inevitably we've suffered some level of damage.

Australia is now only 750 miles above our heads but the finish line still
some 3100 miles to the east, it's a long bloody way to New Zealand!

The first major item to pack up was the Watt&Sea hydrogenerator, the
bracket that holds it on the back of the boat buckled as a side wave must
have pushed the leg with great force, the leg itself is bent and for now
it is unserviceable.

Secondly, and more frustratingly, one of the two NKE wind wands has packed
up as a front swept over our heads, it read 55 knots minutes before
ceising to work.

Riding the Southern Ocean horses: 52.7 knots top wind gust

Even the novelty of riding the back of a Southern Ocean low wears out
after a while, it's amazing what you get used to, we've been below, hatch
closed, for the past two days pretty much eating and sleeping and riding
this mad highway averaging around 12 knots but with surfs well above 20
knots, the maximum wind we recorded so far was 52.7 knots but otherwise
has been anywhere between 33 and 48 knots. Unfortunately with such a
wide range we can't really put any more sail up as we have to be careful
about the top end and the gusts so we are a little slower when the wind
drops, up and down all the time...

Giant waves crashing over the boat after mad surfs

The low that two days ago gave us a kicking upwind has moved to the SE and
now we are running in the strong following winds behind the cold front.
All looks ideal on paper and i'm sure it must look exciting to see us on
the tracker dashing at twice the speed compared to just 48 hours ago...
down here however we are getting a little more entertainement than we had
anticipated, the wind has piped up to 40-45 knots, which i hear you say,
is to be expected, there seems to be always a lot more wind than
predicted... as early as this morning we were flying the small spinnaker,
but then we changed down to the solent and now we are flying our staysail
with reefed main and still occasionally hitting 20knots surfs...

We are thorugh the storm without any damage!

Storm is over, back to normality. After a couple of nasty and
uncomfortable sailing days we just hoisted the small spinnaker and are
finally heading east at decent speeds.

Getting away from the worst of the stormy low

A few hours ago we tacked south follwing Phesheya's example to distance
ourselves from the worst of the winds of the low pressure north west of
us. By the time we tacked the wind was already blowing a full force 7
gusting 8 yet according to the grib files we should have had about 20
knots of wind and it was due to get a lot worse...

Wet, cold, unpleasant bashing

So, the front came through, the wind went around from Northerly to
Southerly in a very short space, within an hour we were reaching in 30-35
knots of wind in a very very confused sea state, absolutely horrible, boat
thrown left to right, surfing, then bashing into a wave, then knocked
sideways, waves of frozen water crashing over the cockpit making even the
shortest trip to trim a sail extremely uncomfortable.

I run the heater for the first time, the exhaust pipe had come undone from
the unit resulting in all the smoke invading the cabin, very unpleasant, I
couldnt open any of the hatches due to the waves and just waited a long
while for the air to clear.

Running away from the front like a good Italian soldier

The cold front is about to reach us, behind us i can see broken clouds and
some blue sky here and there, it rained earlier and the wind has kept on
backing.

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.