Well, we had sun and used the go pro to look under the boat and found a big tangle and ball of weed on the keel and sail drive. We backed down really hard and cleared it (confirmed with go pro again) and are now able to reach our target speeds. There is much rejoicing. Even though we tried to back down two other times, I suspect that it had been there since our channel crossing Monday morning.
Today was a day full of dolphins and a European storm petrel, a life bird for Hannes. And a double submarine sighting. They called one of the other race boats as they were quite close.
That’s the title of a book in the popular Magic Tree House series for children. It was fitting for Kite this morning. Here’s this from Hannes:
“I had the first night watch last night. The wind died around 10:00. The stars were incredible, and the phosphorescence was really amazing, though not as incredible as Sunday night. We’ve seen a ton of dolphins this morning, at least 100, but probably more. We’ve also seen a few fulmars and lots of gannets.”
All is well onboard Kite. We are blasting along the SW coast of England after having had the strange feeling of returning to the Solent, our local sailing grounds, only to leave straight away again. And, with the strong flood tidal current into the Needles Channel, the Solent didn’t want us to leave again.
We are settled into routine of sail changes, navigation, repairs and savoring the fine freeze dried offerings. In addition to the race, we’ve enjoyed the wildlife and natural world along the way – dolphins, a soaring fulmar, gulls, and the stunning sliver of the moon that rises now in the middle of the night.
Since Kite’s arrival, weekends have seen lots of tacks, lots of gybes, hauling spinnakers up, pulling Code Zeros and Fives down. We’ve been out in everything from low 30s to wind speeds slower than the current. With a lot of help from Scott Cavanough, we’ve tweaked the rigging set-ups, adjusted storage plans, tinkered with various settings and adjusted our own sailing routines and habits. It’s quite a choreography tacking and gybing in the small cockpit.
We’ve spent several nights practicing and getting used to the systems on the boat in the dark, important things like where the light switch is. All this practice has helped us become more familiar and more comfortable sailing the boat.
This race season has turned out different than anyone projected, and by now that is old news. As we started the new year, the sale of Kite was just about to close, and we were anticipating an early spring delivery that would also serve as a shakedown cruise for some of the team. Corona had other ideas, of course, and we watched from home patiently as early spring turned to late spring and finally June. Enter the prospect of quarantine restrictions, and the earliest we might get to sail on Kite looked like July. Uggh. Enter Paul and Andrew, who sailed Kite from La Trinite to Poole, arriving minutes before quarantine restrictions kicked in. Many thanks for their effort. Greg and Hannes took over next morning to bring Kite the rest of the way to Poole. Now training begins in earnest . . .