Thirty hours of 30+

Wow, what a 30 hours. We came into Lands End expecting not much and instead had 30+. Was it some funneling at the point? No, we carried it well into the Channel. As we weren’t expecting that much, we didn’t have our storm jib set up and so took the easy route and tried to earn some miles under a double-reefed main. We didn’t know that there was a party get-together in the anchorage. So, we carried on through a very windy night and Friday seeing sustained forty knots for a short while even. In the end, we did pay a price for all the extra fun as our J1 came unfurled and damaged itself and the J2 before we got it all under control again.

So, all is well aboard Kite though the crew look a bit haggard. At least we’ll have a colorful finish with our bright orange storm jib up.

Tales from the Fourth Day

We were having a great blast down from Tuskar Rock when a challenge presented itself. We had wind up to 31 kts and were putting in a second reef when the boom – mainsheet attachment failed. We had to slow down for several hours to get control of the situation and set up a temporary solution. We are now back on our way.

In all of that, it has been another spectactular day with a lot of wild life including the first sighting of a baeleric shearwater amongst many graceful seabirds.

Tuskar Rock was spectactular. We hope to see it in the daytime next year.

Third Day Astern

A glimpse through the fog we encountered along the way Tuesday and Wednesday

All is well on board Kite. Today offered a transition from the fickle winds of Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning to a more confident, assertive wind this afternoon and a small, but sometimes jarring chop in the Celtic sea. Wednesday was again full of fog for Kite. We are looking forward to our first rounding of Tuskar Rock and the fast blast south we anticipate.

Tales from the second day

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.

A different spectator fleet came out to watch today.
Submarines found their way onto the race course

Dolphins at Daybreak

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.”

Dolphins off of Kite’s bow

First Day Astern

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.

Underway with dolphins on the bow
Racing in the Solent with the forts to port
Happy racers in the Solent

And they’re off

Greg and Hannes shortly before their departure from Hamble for the start of the 2020 Normandy Channel Race

Late Saturday night, Greg and Hannes cast off the lines in Hamble as they made a 110-mile passage across the English Channel to the start line of the Normandy Channel Race off Caen, France.

The gun goes off at 1900 CEST on Sunday, September 13. The start of the race will be live streamed on France 3 Normandie.