OVERVIEW

It has been a race filled with highs and lows across all the competing categories, this race has not had a dull moment. The same is true in the IMOCA class. There have been collisions, de-mastings and boats heading back home. In other classes it has been even more dramatic with some of the mutlis capsizing.

THE NEWS SO FAR…

When Boris took an alternate route North after 4 days racing, many were sceptical about his ability to catch up to the rest of the pack due to the need for him to cross a long and very still high pressure system. Boris faced a few lonely days on his Northern track, however, as we saw, he was able to pass through the high without too much issue and got into slightly calmer seas with sunshine after so many days of pounding waves.

SUNDAY 11/11/18

Update from Boris…. Sunday. A 200 meter long swell rolls underneath Malizia every half minute or so like a very long breath of the sea. We accelerate. Sometimes we get to surf with the apparent wind it creates and then slowly decelerate again as the next swell rolls underneath us. The imagination can wander away to the small mid Atlantic islands where these would make for the best surfing conditions. Almost no wind and powerful swell from another ocean. This swell and some of the scratches and wet corners are the only reminders of the big stormy race start which seems like a lifetime ago, a vague memory, something I have read about.

First time Malizia shows all her wardrobe out. The new code0 and the j3. Our sails all have done the Vendée already except two and the code0 is one of them – very proud of it. Two headsails up in the same time looks beautiful I find. In a way it’s like the tall ship did 150 years ago. We sometimes put even 3 nowadays again. “Tripleheaded”. Conditions honor a Sunday. Deep blue ocean. A tropical sun – already strong in the first hour of the day. Small trade wind clouds on the horizon. Nothing too nasty. Nothing (yet) indicating the trap we may be afraid of.
She is gliding along around 12 knots in 8 knots of breeze. Time for me to enjoy, let the view wander over the horizon and spend all energy on the trim and weather.
I wish you all a great Sunday. Wait for not long and we begin the hunt in the trades! Thanks for following!

Boris was rewarded with some beautiful weather and perfect sailing conditions:

UPDATE 11/11/18 Evening

It’s just turned dark (2100 your time). My next manoeuvre will be the spinnaker set. I will do it as soon as the wind has turned further right to about 15 or 20 degrees true wind direction.

It will be pitch black dark and I hope all will go smoothly. This kind of manoeuvre is more efficient during daylight. But we can’t choose. Next after that will be a gybe and a long leg to the ssw in the heart of the trades. Depending on the strength the kite could stay up all the way to Guadeloupe. Except when it’s very squally or constantly blowing over 22 knots I will be faster on the mast head gennaker. I am particularly curious to see how that sail will perform. It’s a new style of sail that no one else has built one so far, our second new sail.

A fast but uneventful Sunday has gone by. I got some rest despite the high pitch foil screaming at 20 knots. I put my headset on and eventually I hope to find my earplugs inside the boat again. Lost them. Have a great start  the week and wish us a good final night of the transition into the trades…

 

 

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UPDATE 12/11/18

Boris then gave us a little update from 5 am: Just set the kite and trying to tune into the new mode of sailing lower and slower. Difficulties to accelerate, got a bit spoiled by the nice code zero. Swell makes it a bit harder to find a constant flow and build up the appearent wind.

Wind is further left then predicted so i wait for the wind to come right before i can gybe south in the quest for stronger breeze.Nice dark night and all good onboard.

Kite had been so properly whooled up all nicely by our excellent shore team, almost a shame to deploy it ;-) Best Boris

 

 

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THE ULTIME WINNER

In the morning of 12/11/18 Boris sends us a video showing his happiness for Francis Joyon in winning the Route du Rhum in the Ultime class and shares his plan for that day:

THEN IT ALL WENT WRONG…

UPDATE FROM BOIRS 13/11/18 at 13:00 PART 1:

Why did Malizia sail this strange curve last night I hear you ask? Problems with the kite ? Yes.

To put this first: no scratch on the sail. It’s in its bag and stacked. But that didn’t look a likely end of the scenario for a frightening hour. Unfortunately, I have lost a lot of miles but not all due to the incident. We were still just transitioning into the stronger trades that the frontrunners have had for a while. We sailed most of yesterday through unpleasant unstable and rather soft trades still with a lot of swell and no opportunity to see Malizia accelerate really. ⠀

Sailing into the night I send a video with some dark rain patch behind and then it all turned pitch black. Then you can still react to squalls. I can’t see them on the satellite pictures. ⠀

I installed myself with the beanbag in the cockpit to snooze with the spinnaker sheet in my hand. Average wind I would say was ideal for the spinnaker: around 19 knots. I had a few gusts with 24 knots. I ease the sheets, bear away and all was nicely under control. I fall asleep again and wait the next gust. This time it starts the same and I am completely relaxed still. But after a while it goes up to 26 sometimes 28 knots. We are sailing a deep angle at 24 knots boat speed. I am standing at this point with the kite sheet inside the cockpit, still relaxed with a low heart rate expecting the squall to be over in a few minutes. But the inevitable bad constellation of swell and gust and boat speed – we may have been slow or high angle – let’s us spin out of control in a split second. The rudder ventilates and the boat turns violently upwind. As all the sheets are immediately eased we don’t even heel over that much. ⠀

The critical moment now is always to not crash gybe after tiring back down on course. Once the rudder has grip again the pilot overreacts often and would send us directly into a gybe – with the port rudder lifted up at this point that wouldn’t be a nice scenario.

So far all not very unusual. But my jockey pole (extending the sheet sideways from the boat) has jumped out of its support and is now banging violently against the coach roof and it’s windows. Instead of sheeting in I ease the sheet more to liberate the sheet from the pool. This was fatal for the order of the spinnaker. I stow the pole away and fixate it in safety. ⠀

Now it’s still blowing 26 and I start to winch down the drop line of the spinnaker socket. I switch the gears of the winch very carefully because it’s hard but I don’t want to break the down line neither. It seems stuck. It’s still so dark that I see just a small radius of boat in the cone of my headlamp. I use a strong spotlight to look at the top of the mast and to see why the spinnaker socket wouldn’t come down. My heart almost stops as I see the spinnaker is wrapped around the forestay. ⠀

I guess if you go on YouTube and look for “sailboat racing fails” You will quickly find an example: the typical Wednesday beer can racer has his kite completely stuck and is now helplessly doomed to sail downwind until one of his mates goes up the mast and cuts everything free. ⠀

I cannot smile in this moment. I am the stupid one. Except I am in the middle of the Atlantic in way too much wind for a 400 square meter sail stuck 30 meters high up in a rain squall where I cannot even see it. ⠀

What happens now is crazy. I hear a melody in my mind and consciously focus in my heartbeat and acid taste in the mouth while my head does everything like a professional yacht team of 5 people. Just from time to time my conscious mind lays out some general orders to the team and myself I stay almost relaxed. I feel a real separation.

The team is doing the following steps in good order: dropping the windward rudder, opening the mast rotation, keep just at the beginning in the middle, sheet mainsail halfway in, some boom vang on, open the Cunningham and the back stay, gybe (without broaching with full main in 26 knots – which by a miracle succeeded), put some keel on the new side (starboard) to balance with all the stacking and water ballast on port and finally furl the j3 staysail. Now I was ready for my trick: I would drive the boat with the tiller in one hand and illuminate the kite with the spotlight in my other hand. By finding the right angle to the wind – like 175 – the back wind behind the mainsail would blow into the spinnaker in a way that it spins the whole sail around the forestay. It had to be coming around 4 times. And it did. Each successful Pirouette of the spinnaker around the forestay would flood me with a feel of joy and relief. If the spinnaker remained stuck -which can happen – it could have cost me the mast. The big ballon was aggressively shaking the rig around before I managed to gybe. ⠀

Once the kite was unwrapped from the forestay I sheeted in and checked it with the spotlight. Zero damage. Only now could I winch down the drop line and pull the socket over the beast. I sat down and had a cup of water, a chewing gum and clapped myself on the shoulder.⠀

The rest was work as normal. Dropping the spinnaker socket into the fore hatch, cleaning up, hoisting the big gennaker (I also call it mast head zero, a furled tight luff sail from rigid 3di material and not nylon cloth). Cleaning up I found that I had lost the jockey pole. Of course also all the sheets were wrapped around the foils. I took my time to do a proper job and I could see that in the massive loss on the tracker this morning. Luckily this doesn’t cost us a place. Depending on the events they to could make it harder to get into the match in front. But since the gennaker is unfurled we are back to full race mode. Staysail and stack in place, trim to be adjusted with each squall.

It just happened now again: I had a phone call from the organisers and while I was speaking with them about my night a squall hit so suddenly that I spun out and lost the steering again – broached. But with the gennaker it is only half as violent as with the kite and nothing can get tangled. A few seconds later we are back on track. This looks like full on three days of constant trimming and making sure to go fast but not to get caught by one of these nasty squalls too often again. I will push as much as possible. Have a good day. Boris.

 

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RECOVERING

After the intense and adrenaline filled experience from the night before Boris shared with us a video that will make every sailor happy. Malizia flying along on her foils:

 

We are now on day 11 and Alex Thomson is drawing nearer to the finish with about 300nm to go. The next four boats, including Boris are approximately 200nm+ behind Alex so the race for the next four spots is on. Boris has kept up really well with the lead pack and we are really happy with his current position, he is going to keep pushing on and aim to see if he can gain some serious ground when the leaders slow down around the island of Guadeloupe.

Here Boris tells you how he is doing in German:


Thanks all – keep sending us your messages as Boris really appreciates these.

Team Malizia

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