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...

Sail damage in serious nose dive during storm

I've just had a dinner of rice with a thai green sauce and a peanut bar
for desert, slowly recovering from the busy day. The gale we faced
yesterday left us with a few issues to deal with. We had chosen a route
that kept us away from the very worst of the deepening depression but as
we sailed deeper into the low the wind was steadily above 40 knots and
gusting occasionally at nearly 50 knots.

We had been rather conservative in every step, we furled the solent quite
early on when the wind was still building, unfortunately the furling drum
was wrapped with a spinnaker sheet and it took a minute or two to resolve,
when it came to furling the sail we were hit by a gust and the violent
flogging put a tear in the leach of the sail. We havent been able to
assess the damage yet but hopefully it should be quite easily repairable,
we just need to find a window of calm weather to deal with it.

The wind built rapidly and we spent a lont time with 3 reefs in the main
and the staysail and still occasionally taking off massive surfs at 18 and
occasionally even 20 knots. We were mainly below with the hatch closed as
several waves broke in the cockpit...

The sea state deteriorated quite rapidly and occasionally we were hit by
larger than average cross waves. All seemed perfectly under control until
we sailed down the face of one of thes monsters, we started surfing
almost vertiacally until the bottom of the wave where we buried the bow
very violently. Sergio in his bunk was thrown forward by the sudden
deceleration but luckily was sleeping feet first and wasnt injured, the
whole boat tilted diagonally and just in that instant where you think
you're about to come upright the very wave that had sent us surfing broke
over the boat in a thunderous roar.

Eventually the boat re-emerged from the momentary sea burial as if nothing
had happened, those were quite scary instants. We could have done a lot of
damage but other than the fright we thought we had made it thorough
uscathed, that's until I looked out I noticed we had blown the foot of the
staysail, torn open by the force of the water breaking over the deck.

The staysail can be reefed and luckily the damage is contained below the
reef point, so we reefed the sail and continue rather undercanvassed for
the rest of the night. Today as the wind decreased we put the small A5
spinnaker and I took down the staysail to assess the damage. It's quite
bad, with one meter long vertical tear starting from the foot, but i think
with a little patience i can fix it, at least to make it serviceable in
case we need it again...

With two headsails damaged in the space of few hours I spent the day
needle in hand replaying our choices through my head. We had gained on
Phesheya but sustained some damage, yet we had lost lots of miles to
Cessna that seemed to be pushing through as if storms didnt affect them...
that's until midday today, Cessna had clearly stopped in the midst of the
storm, covering just a handful of miles in three hours, what happened? At
the next report they were moving again, ruling out a dismating but their
averages were not compatible with the winds they were in... We reduced our
deficit to them by nearly over 50 miles over the rest of the day and it is
unclear whether they are sailing at full capacity or not...

The race continues, we lick our wounds, we repair the damage and press on,
a final push towards Les Sables D'Olonne. Both men and machines are tired
and we hope to outsail the next depression forming behind and avoid the
strongest winds as its centre moves to the north, this time sailing fast
is the best defence, suits me, i really want to cross that finish line,
now just over 1500 miles away...