The Fastnet – Day 1, blog 1, just past the Needles.
The Needles are behind us and we’re off, back out to sea together again on our magenta VO65, and it feels good.
Despite the light wind start we’ve managed to weave our way past the small boats who started before us. Martin (our new recruit and former Dongfeng crew member) has just commented on how well he thinks we’ve managed to exit the Solent. I certainly remember it being a lot more tricky 2 yrs ago on our VO70. We’d had some gear failure off the start line and then had a battle to get across the fleet on port tack, with lots of smaller, slower boats calling starboard on us, making us do hurried manoeuvres. This time Sally and our navigation team of Libby and Aksel seemed to keep us out of too much trouble. The tacks we had to make to get upwind went well, and we’re now on our biggest upwind sail, the MHO heading west on starboard tack.
It feels exciting to be going offshore again. It’s just over a month since we were last racing offshore together and as the Isle of Wight disappears behind us, it’s like life is returning to it’s normal equilibrium. We’re back racing, looking for every inch and whilst we don’t have any VO65’s to compare ourselves to, we have hundreds of other boats to get past and sail away from.
Perhaps even more importantly we have our own performance targets. Using our boat speed and other data we can see how well we’re going. The goal is to be above 100% on our own targets at all times and we’re hoping that by using the experience of Martin and Aksel from other boats, we might be able to find a few more percent.
It feels like the wind is building on deck, we’re heeling over and the boat has picked up speed, the sound of rushing water under our feet. We’ve also just spotted Sam on our AIS and I can hear Libby and Caroljin discussing our strategy with excitement. We’re gaining…. it’s time to start reeling them in!