Route du Rhum Qualifier

Following Round Ireland, Greg left for his Route du Rhum Qualifier.

In addition to the selection process to gain one of the 55 Class 40 slots, each skipper has to complete a qualifying passage. That passage can be either one of a few approved races in solo mode, a solo passage of 1,200 miles with at least 120 miles upwind in at least Force 5 (19-22kts), or a combination of a shorter solo race and a qualifying passage.

The delivery back from Ireland to Hamble was a great opportunity to double as a qualifying passage. We agreed with the race management on a course that would head south from Dún Laoghaire to a point off La Rochelle, back up to Ireland near Cork, south to France again near Brest and then on to Hamble.

Greg left Sunday the 26th as a low was passing Ireland promising 20+ kts S/Sw’erly.

Well, the low overdelivered. We had 30kts for the first 100 miles or so before it eased off for a few hours. Then the next front passed and brought more mid 30s! Step one – upwind requirement met…

Over all, it was a fun passage with few issues. The last miles into Hamble were active with a lot of shipping and fishing boats. We (I guess that is a royal we) finished in just over 6 days and something like 1350 miles sailed.

Lots of ships
Lots of nice sunsets

Round Ireland Finish

It was a cruel finish to Round Ireland. If you watched the trackers, you know the wind died at the front and followers caught up. At times, we had 3 knots of wind and the followers were barreling up to us at 8 knots.

In the end, we ended up West and #171 went East and snuck by. It was well executed by them. We finished 2nd in the 40s and, in 2-3 kts of wind we ghosted as the 5th boat across the line.

Wow, this was a fun race. The scenery is amazing and the course around Ireland provides a lot of diversity and challenges.

For depth reasons, we stayed up in Dún Laoghaire and loved it up there too, but Wicklow looked really pretty from the sea as well.

Finish at Wicklow
Hannes at the helm across the finish
Last night before the finish.

2021 Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Class 40 High Point Champion

2021 marked a great second season for Kite if for no other reason than there were more than two races. Following are results from the 2021 season. Many thanks to all who helped and sailed along with us during the season.

2021 Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Class 40 High Point Champion

Kite’s Results:

  • 11th Place, Class 40 Fleet, Rolex Fastnet Race, 2021 – Legendary 600-mile
  • yacht race in the English Channel and Irish Sea.
  • 1st Place, RORC Castle Rock Race, 2021
  • 2nd place, RORC Channel Race, 2021
  • 2nd place, RORC Cowes – Dinard – St Malo Race, 2021
  • 1st place, RORC De Guingand Race, 2021
  • 22nd place, Normandy Channel Race, 2021

Practice, practice, practice

Sailing off of Cowes
Photo by John Green

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.

Here’s a video from one night sail in light air:

Delivery at Last: La Trinite to Hamble via Poole

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 . . .