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Kotari - Delayed Blogs catch up! - Blog 1

These were written live and sent incorrectly so were not published on time!

So.... here they are!

Blog 1

Sorry, this took until day 4 or 5 for us to work out how to send an email…. Tech these days aye!

In summary:
• the first 5 (Sun, Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs) yes 5 days, has been a sleigh ride.
• We’ve had a narrow miss with a wind hole on Tuesday evening, but some canny night time spinnaker work got us out of it quickly,
• As a crew of virgin pond crossers, I think, on the whole, we are big fans of the trade winds…. And we’re not even in the best of them yet (in theory)
• The freezers buggered, so lots of bacon and sausage being eaten
• Richard is coming round to loving the colorful sails

So here is the blog as it was


Onboard we have:

(Dr) Mark Curtis - Surgeon/ bone doctor/ owner/all-round lovely chap
Richard Dennis - Engineer/chef/spinnaker detester & has read a book on everything
Dr Carol(ie) Stableforth - Anaesthetist/ rapidly becoming a ninja helm/onboard chief medical officer
Dr Eddie Comber - Comms officer/tech enthusiast
Skipper - Ruaraidh/me (like Brewery without the B) Plummer - keeping the average age down ;P (also the muppet who decided to shave his head before departure)

Kotari is a Jeanneau 49 of the older era when they were made to sail in winds stronger than you’d perhaps like to at times!

We have all got to know her training for the last year in the Solent and of course, delivering her down to the Canaries in 2 legs from Lymington!

We have a good amount of kit onboard which even works “most" of the time, as a bonus.

Day 1 - Sunday Start

We had a good start although it was pretty light winds and after flirting heavily with the bow of a moored up tanker (pictures to prove), and then going behind the stern of a cruise ship (our tacks were killing us as acceleration wasn’t great) we limped on a bit further, watching with envy as many boats motored on ahead…. So we decided to join them.

It was less than 2 hours and once south of the airport we had some better breeze and cracked up the asymmetric using our new fractional halyard (fractional = doesn’t go all the way to the top of the mast as we have a new fairlead/spectacle attachment on the mast).

We decided to break our golden rule and fly the kite into the night… it does have a snuffer/condom/sock (whichever you fancy, 3 guessed which is mine) so is fairly manageable, but the forecast was pretty chilled as we continued south to get into some more reliable winds and not get caught in the shadow of Grand Canaria!

At some point, the news was broken by Richard that the freezer was getting a bit too warm and the fridge too cold… urgh let's keep an eye on that
Also, the power was dropping relatively quickly - need to sail faster (for the watt and sea generator we are towing to charge better/faster/stronger) and clean any dust off the solar panels…


The wind did as expected as dark settled in and backed (anti-clockwise) quite a bit to the NNE from the E and so we dropped the kite/gybed and poled out the jib for the night. Quite a roley night it was!

After what can only be described as a s*** sleep for most of us (some appear to sleep through ANYTHING)


Day 2 - Monday

Our 2 hours of motoring at the start seemed to put us in a good stead so when we got the kite up this morning and followed by the 1200 position report it puts us currently first in our sub-class 1B and 17th on the water…

We hunted down Emily Morgan which looks a lovely Ketch (Bowman 57 if I’m not mistaken) and we are now sitting ahead of them,
Been quite tiring with the spinnaker up but time passes well and we will resort to our night time set up of a poled out jib for this evening! Will probably allow many faster boats to gain on us.

Notes to self

Small notch/tear in the head of the spinnaker to be repaired this eve so just need to not drop it in the piss.

Must make more soft shackles also!

Carol had a 3-hour stint helming with the kite up which did us well for power consumption by not using Auto Jim (powered autopilot) as Hydro Jane (wind-vane auto) wasn’t quite up to the task.

Chicken curry for dinner with tortilla, Ice cream was rejected for pudding as it was the same for lunch (it became an urgent consumption when we thought the freezer was on the blink) and I believe we averaged around 7.5 knots through the night, putting in and shaking out a reef a couple of times.

All in all, not bad for the first proper day out of sight of land!


Day 3 - Tuesday

Bit of a fast and furious night under poled out jib and main, bit grey and chance of showers type morning… wind is up and down a bit so not feeling too confident about a spinnaker for now.
Fixed out first snags of the trips - lazy jacks somehow buggered, spin halyard 1 end to end it is as got badly frayed after 10 hours of kite yesterday!

After some cracking tuna/caper salad we’ve got the Asym up, which took a while to happen, and have tried the new Spin 2 halyard (masthead) as it’s on a snuffer and hoping it can get hoisted properly.
Chugging along and 7 - 8.5 knots now.. much better than before.

The weather looks bit challenging up ahead, think we need to head more north so we can get some good broad reaching in a couple of days!

Not had much in the way of encounters for the day, had some sails on the horizon this morning but think we’ve drifted apart a bit.


Update, day 2,

So we sailed slightly too long on Port tack with Asymmetric kite up which took us further south than I expected and didn’t pay enough attention… nearly sailed into the wind hole but managed to gybe away, change to Symmetric kite and only spent 30mins doing less than 6 knots,

Kept the kite up until after dinner and dropped it (very smoothly) at 2000 to revert to poling out.
This allowed us to steer the desired course of 265 rather than 280 although slight loss of speed. Still making 6.5-7 knots

Dinner was one of my favorites, it has many names, but tonight it was called roasted lamb shoulder surprise.
There is no lamb in it.

Throughout the night the boat picked up speed and the motion became somewhat challenging to sleep in. We’ve just put in a reef at 0620.
Amazing how as we travel through the time zones, the starts are still out in force until about 0730 at the moment, going to have to shift the watches around a bit so we don’t have dinner at what feels like 1600 and breakfast at 0500…

The plan is to adjust the watch system today anyway to mix things up a bit!

By my calls, our average speed since leaving the wind hole 11 hours ago has been about 7.3 again… not too shabby


Day 4 - Wednesday

Not much respite in the wind as it barely drops below 20 knots but is gusting over 30 at times (not in the forecast but thanks very much for the average speed)
No spinnaker requirements as we put in the first and then the 2nd reefs overnight and have kept them in all day, adjusted the amount of Genoa we have poled out.
Nav is fairly straight forward for instructions, sail as fast as possible in the right direction. First updated weather gribs downloaded today and according to the position report, we’re still up the front of the main bulk of the fleet (aka those that do not plane or have stabilisers).

Sea state definitely getting a bit more enthusiastic, I see that Sophie on Escapado has gone very North, hope it isn’t too rough up there!

Had a nice chat with Peter Von Seestermühe (need to ask about that name) which was the first contact with the fleet in about 48 hours, also heard Kaizen and NeuroSeas having a chat (felt left out)

Richard had the fridge lid fall on his finger… nail instantly black, shame there aren’t any doctors onboard…
Learning all sorts of useful doctors' acronyms - FPAI, UDL, NPO and so many more. Not sure they are publishable in full length.

All-day we mostly surfed waves, rolled a lot, went quite fast… ate good food… it's a tough life!


Day 5 - Thursday

We’ve had a cracking average of 7.8 in the last 12 hours approx so we are getting excited for the 1200 position report.

Our main competition seems to be with:
- Emily Morgan - although they’ve taken a big dive south and don’t think we’ll see them for some time now
- Peter Von Seestermühe - I’ve head of although don’t think I know what a Henry Gruber design is, but they seems to go like a train in a blow… and I thought we were sailing Kotari like we stole her. Interested to see where we are from overnight as we are identical lengths!
- Yuna - the 30-foot Pogo and smallest in our class seems to be v hot and cold. They will probably love it when the wind goes to the NNE and hoon past us but currently holding them off as far as I can tell.
- Kaizen - another 49 footer that seems to be on our tail, although they have kids onboard so fair play to them!

Anyway just got a new forecast in and looks like more of the same for the next 12-18 hours (poled out jib/downwind sleigh ride) and then tomorrow morning the wind is easing slightly, wind going more N so will be aiming to pop one of the 4 kites up… spoilt for choice really… it will make Richard happy for sure!

Kotari’s first 5 days signing off!

Richard (cabin buoy)


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