Archive for June, 1998


Leg 3 – Barra to Lerwick

June 22, 1998   

We started last night at 9:49pm with Alice’s Mirror 25 minutes behind. It is now 12 noon on the 16th. We have only sailed 72 miles and are not yet at St Kilda. We had a good spinnaker run down the coast getting to Barra Head in about 2 hours with the tide. I had the first watch till 3 am it was very cold and I kept on nodding off while helming which wasn’t good. It was only dark from midnight. At 6am before going off watch I put up the masthead ktie Alice was a long way behind. I woke to find we were going at 0 knots, there was no wind except in a patch a few hundred yards away in which Alice’s Mirro was approaching from fast.

I rowed while Mary steered and we got back into the wind. We furled the masthead when the wind got up to 10 knots but we could not get it down – the halyards had jammed. Alice passed 200 yards behind us on port takc wth QII on autopilot. Mary and I btoh tried to get the masthead down and in the end I hoisted her up the mast and with a bit of juggling we got the sail down. I just got off watch and Alice is on the horizon behind. We have tried calling on VHF but no reply. The wind is still 6 knots and the masthead is up. However, looking at the forcast and weather faxes from Germany there is a lot of wind to come. By the way it is really sunny outside and the mornign chill is disappearing.

Just finished dinner. Convent Garden Chicken Soup, followed by mange-tout and potatoes with beef lasagne. Tried calling Alice again, but still didn’t get through. I heard Modi calling Telegroup though. Talked to Alex apparently they have little wind and rounded St Kilda at 6:15pm. It is now 8:15pm and we are three miles off. I have the graveyard watch this leg, 11-2 in the morning. Yuck…! Last night the wind switched so I took down the asymmetric and rehoisted it later. During a rain storm this morning the asym again came down in a big black cloud, just after passing Sula Sgier another small barren island. It has again been a sunny day and we have made good mileage along the rhumb line with north westerly wind to continue according to the forecast. Only 203 miles to go at this rate we will be in Lerwick by late thursday evening. Food tonight again fresh soup, potatoes, carrots and chicken and white wine sauce.

Assymetric was up and down in the night like a yo-yo. What had Mary lectured me about in leg 2 – there’s no point in putting up a sail for 30 minutes. Anyway I can be out of my sleeping bag, get the kit down and band it all in about 10 minutes. We are now 60 degrees north and it has been chilly wine we left Barra. Full layers last night and it didn’t go dark at all. Lerwicks great, lots of birds, but pretty cold. Got in only one hour behind Modi so we are back in contention and Alice’s Mirror was four hours behind.

Ready for the start

June 2, 1998   

Less than one week until the start of the Two Handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. Last weekend we deliverd QII to Plymouth via Wolf Rock. This last term has been tiring, juggling revision, training and last minute preparation. Since October Mary and I have sailed 1000 miles together training for the race. We have had our mishaps mostly casued by me still thinking there are another seven people on the boat! Never the less the crew work has improved enormously and I think that I have almost completed my ‘degree’ in QII’s water ballast system. One our our return trips from Cherbourg at the end of April was very quick taking only 7 hours surfing back with the spinnaker up. At the beginning of May we followed a RORC fully crewed race to Quistreum. This was our first real test against boats being raced, up until then we had been racing cruising boats down the Solent! The race committee very kindly gave us a finish fun, we finished 5th elapsed time, ahead of the Sigma 38’s, IMX 38’s and the J35, not bad for two girls on a 35 footer. Last week the boat was re-antifouled and we are not longer dragging half the world’s seaweed species – this should help our speed to improve even more.

Next weekend is the boat inspection so it is down to Plymouth again, all the kit should now be organized. Pains Wessex have kindly agreed to ‘sponsor’ us with enough flares to rival the Cowes Week fireworks display. The rules allow us to row the boat when there is no wind. We have designed and had made a carbon fiber blade, which fits onto the new carbon spinnaker poles thus saving weight and solving the problem of stowing a 15 foot plus oar. A rowlock clamps to the side of teh boat and we can make speeds through the water in excess of 1 knot. This will allow us to get to that annoying patch of wind and doubles as an emergency rudder when rigged off the transom of the boat.

 Last week I went down to Meridian TV studios and spent a few hours learning how to use a video camera and what kits of shots they want. The camera was last used on Swedish Match so manybe it can teach us something! It comes with a clamp and case so for the start all the excitement will be recorded and most likely highly edited. A few other cameras will be carried on different boats throughout the fleet and two 30 minute programs will be shown later this summer on several TV stations.

The entry list is still growing with our class being the biggest. There are 12 monohulls including a Corby 35 retrofitted with a small amount of water ballast and 9 multihulls. Most competitors have now completed their qualifying cruise, we were very kindly given dispensation. There are no handicaps it is first across the line in class.

The start