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...

Southern Ocean randez vous between Financial Crisis and Phesheya Racing

After six days of racing i have a sense of deja vu, the three new boats
are at the front and here futher back we are nearly in visual contact with
Phesheya Racing which is about 7 miles to our port, we had a brief radio
chat and as we are converging we should actually see them pretty soon...
the same had happened by the Gibriltar and again by the coast of Morocco
in leg one. The two boats are same design and same speed and it makes it
real special in the solitude of the Southern Ocean to have your fellow
racers and friends close by...

It's another very pleasant sunny day and we should enjoy stable and
relatively light conditions for a few days ahead.

A welcome break in hot sunshine and gentle winds

After days of being punished and thrown around things have definitely
turned for the better, we have emerged from our dry suits stinking like
dead rats and are enjoying a lovely spinnaker run in a hot sunshine and
gentle 20-25 knots of wind. I guess conditions like this will be
exceptional but who says we cant enjoy them while they last.

Both Hugo and I have found ourselves needing quite a lot of catching up
with sleep but feeling a million times better every time we squeeze in a
few restful hours. I still think the emotional roller coaster of the first
few days was a combination of fear of the unknown, apprehension and
immediate physical exhaustion while being thrown around in wet horrible
conditions...

The way to diet: Non surgical gastric bands

If you are looking at a non-surgical equivalent to a gastric band look no
further, come to the great south where we'll make you feel a constant knot
around your stomach to lose weight. In the past few days it's been either
windy or freaking windy, and as far as I understand this still absolutely
nothing compared to what we might get.

Yesterday we got caught small spinnaker up in a front with gusts up to 45
knots and had to wrestle the thing down, we just discussed the strategy
for the night and we really have to balance speed with safety and gear
preservation, it still is a long long way to Wellington and with no land
in sight any major breakages would mean a very very long limp to the
finish.

Finally flying in the right direction after a windless night

We spent the night in a windless hole with a 2-3 knots current dragging us
west, we can only blame lack of research and preparation for not knowing
about this adverse river in our way, i guess everyone had to cross it but
we certainly got the worst of it as we had no wind at all to reach the
other side of the stream. In the morning the wind finally filled, we
initially hoisted the A2 masthead spinnaker, but quickly the wind clocked
to the south west and the angle was too shy.

An emotional roller coaster in the grips of the south easterlies

I didnt have the easiest of starts, mentally, I think the stress in
getting things ready in Cape Town wore me out and I have to admit to a
very tough first 48 hours.

A tough start for leg 2 of the Global Ocean Race

We're at sea admiring a beautiful sunset and in the distance we can just
make Cape Good Hope that we are leaving behind us, this will most likely
be the last piece of land we'll see till we arrive in New Zealand.

My mood the day of the start was far than relaxed. I was apprehensive and
my mouth was dry, we are venturing towards the mysterious Southern
Ocean... The first night was tough, after a light patch of wind west of
Cape Town in the lee of Table Mountain the dreaded South Easter was
blowing 25-30 knots right on our noses and beating into the horrible seas
was many degrees of separations away from the word pleasant.

Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon ready to set off for leg 2 of the Global Ocean Race

I cannot believe it has been over three weeks since we arrived to Cape Town, time seems to have dissipated like the clouds that blow over Table Mountain when the Southeaster blows hard in Town. Repairs to the boat were finally completed just a few days ago, the food supplies replenished and the boat checked over for signs of wear and breakages. Tomorrow we'll finally set off for one of the two dreaded Southern Ocean legs, apprehension always lingers at the back of your mind but this is what we came to experience.

Armare

Armare Ropes

RTW foods

RTW Foods

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.

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