A Ridiculous Finale

Suffice to say the wind soon dropped in the final few days although usually enough to keep us moving in the rolling swell generated by the recent typhoon off Japan  Save one nightof swirly winds ,rain,cold and twirly helms  We had sailed ourselves firmly into 5th position ahead of Zhuhai andwith Halong Bay well to the south. Fortunately the wind had moved forward of the beam meaning spinnakers were not required. Yes ,something happened again the shackle connecting the bobstay to the bow had mysteriously dissappeared,and lines of the bobstay were hanging limply dipping in the sea. The bobstay runs from the end of the bowsprit to low low down on the bow providing a countertraction when a spinnaker is set off the bowsprit – so spinnakers not possible  

Anyway the fleet had compressed on the final day such that we could see Bermuda ahead and Zhuhai behind who were bearing away for more speed a vain attempt at making us think they were gaining. So round the final turning mark we went ,Bermuda 4th ,Sanya 5th, Zhuhai 6th and that’s where the rewards should have been for 6500 miles of sailing. But no. Instead the race committee have set a finish off a sheltered point where the sea compresses into a channel and the current is going faster than any breeze. All 3 of us get pushed past the finish line and have to sail back to it  Hours later Halong Bay get pushed across the line,just!, and take 4th place and are followed a while later by Seattle. 

Track before retiring with Sanya heading Southwest before the Yankee is dropped

The next incident should never have occurred.  Diring a radio conversation between Zhuhai and us Zhuhai inform us that they are not going to attempt to sail back to the line and are retiring from the race – but they also had a 6 hour time penalty due to a previous breach that had to be applied. Bermuda,who have been pushed further away, are thinking the samebut have not retired. This unfortunately puts a mindset into the skipper first mate and some of the crew that retiring from this race after all we’ve been through is somehow a possibility! This is now put to a vote by the crew. However the crew are under the impression that both yachts ahead have retired(untrue) and that it’s going take 12 hours to wait for favourable currents to get across a finish line 1.5 miles away. In disgust after putting in my vote I head back upstairs to join Afshin at the helm. The vote is 7 to 4 in favour of retiring. Up at the helm (it is night),I note our compass heading is at the finish but our course is actually backwards away from where we need to go. Within minutes however we are making 1/2 a knot at a COG of 230 degrees towards the finish. Yes it might 3 hours ,maybe more, maybe less. WTF, we’ve been out here for the 36 days,who on earth thinks of tossing in the towell at this point. But there is no re assessment of the situation , there is no re discussion ,there is no updating of the crew with current situation .Had the hitherto radio conversation not occurred none of this would have come to pass. The Yankee is inexorably dropped ,and our speed plummets. I congratulate Afshin on his efforts. (In the end Bermuda don’t retire and finish 7th,and had we been out there they would have had to comepast us). After the next days motoring Bermuda dock in Seattle barely a few hours after us. Nuff said.

Unfortunately as you now no due to COVID I  don’t get on the next race. Such is life.

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