Begg Rock

With 9 starters and 5 official finishers, this year’s race, almost 48 hours long for most, was a test of patience, grit and sleeplessness. The light fluky conditions had no remorse for the fleet and especially the singlehanders.  The spinnaker went up, came down and was repacked 6 times during the race.  The breeze at the start – 8-10 knots died off with the light and not to get over 6 knots until 24 hours later with the Rock in sight. Then it died off again within 3 hours leaving the fleet mainly drifting for the second night.

These are brutal conditions for racing singlehanders as they must actively work the boat at all times. If you don’t, others will catch the wind and move ahead a few miles while you drift and catch up on sleep. So you try to guess when conditions will be stable enough to sleep for an hour or two. Sometimes they are, but not this race. I pushed through the first night well enough, digging out of a hole off Pt. Dume, but then started to drag on Saturday not sleeping. Slacker managed to round at 5;30 along with a TransAt Mini, fabulously helmed by Przemek on his first offshore race.  I got the spinnaker up and crashed in my bunk for 3 hours.

Saturday night was not pretty. I was a mess with little sleep, lack of caffeine headaches and oddly a little queasiness. I was mainly in my bunk, sticking my head up every hour of so. I remember drifting with the current for an hour or two, thinking it was OK if everyone passed me.

By 4 am I could see some lights and was pretty sure the Mini had passed me. A little easterly came up & Slacker was able to move again. We had some lovely sailing with the Milky Way and then the early morning light. Aeriagnie came up to do the groggy 0600 Roll Call and I found Slacker had somehow kept her lead, although Slowpoke might correct on us, but that was fine with me. Brian Radamaker is an ironman out there & deserves the win.

I did see a small pod of Orca on Saturday in the swells. When you see that dorsal fin, you know what it is. Sorry, no photos.

Three cheers to all those who finished. I’m impressed.