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Navigator Eric Holden's RORC Transat Blog: Day 3

Navigator Eric Holden's RORC Transat Blog: Day 3

Day 3 Blog

Conditions have been pretty gentle today with winds of 5-10 kts and a light northerly swell. This has allowed us to chase down some gremlins in the boat systems. We have an oil leak in the hydraulic system, air is getting into the watermaker plumbing, and we're getting about half the expected output from the hydrogenerator. Earlier we fixed an electrical fault in the bilge pumps and boat instruments. The watermaker is behaving again and we're monitoring the other problems which aren't critical at this stage.

With the weather as benign as it currently is, the team is asking when we might see the trade winds. I hesitate to answer as it looks like we're stuck with what we've got for the next few days. This is not really the conditions that suit us over the larger boats but as we're still making progress and sailing a couple knots above the wind speed we don't have much to complain about.

A nice perk in these conditions is that we're all getting plenty of rest while the boat glides along gently. This is a treat as when she gets moving she is noisy and rough, and sleep only gets easy once exhaustion sets in.

Until later....Eric

Sean McCarter RORC transat crew blog Day 3

Sean McCarter RORC transat crew blog Day 3

Good morning sports fans!

Team Maverick are well underway in this years RORC Transatlantic race. To be totally honest, it wasn't the start we were looking for with almost 24hrs upwind. Some of the bigger yachts are definitely better suited to punching through short, steep seas than our 5.5 tonne flyer.

At lunchtime today, we finally hoisted the first kite of the race and have been sitting comfortably between 12-17 kts (in similar wind speed) making good use of our DSS foil.

It's hard to complain; blasting into the sunset, impressive volcanic-backdrop of La Gomera to port and a delicious bag of Expeditions finest freeze-dried Spaghetti Bolognaise......

(big gap in typing...... as Sean gets called on-deck)

Sorry about that. As I was writing this I must have jinxed us as the wind shadow reached out from La Palma to grab us. We are all good after some quick crew work we are back in the gradient wind and making good boat speeds.

Anyway I have been up now for three watches so am going to sign off.

PS Can someone tell me how much Ireland beat Australia by?

Sean McCarter out...

Maverick RORC Transat skipper blog: Day 3

Maverick RORC Transat skipper blog: Day 3

Good Morning Team Maverick Fans!

Day 3 08:40 UTC

Firstly let me apologies that this is the first time we are checking in. As you will gather from this blog the race has been reasonably challenging thus far.

Next we would like to send our love to Nikki Curwen who had to step off the boat at the last minute for medical reasons. She put in a huge amount of work shoreside to make this journey possible and we are all thinking of her.

Our start was good. We hit the line soon after the gun with our GS (Genoa Staysail) and JT (Jib top) we did think it strange that everyone else had elected for a J1. Things were to become a little clearer. Most of the fleet were pushing inshore... It soon became apparent why, there was a mark inshore off Puerto Del Carmen. Whoops somehow we missed this in our planning... Thus having having sailed lower than the rest of the fleet we had given them all a lot of time on the course and we made the long tack inshore to round the mark.

Mistakes happen its how you deal with them that counts. As a team we focused on working our way back through the fleet. Luckily the mistake was realised early enough so that the consequences were not too bad. We rounded the mark just after Pata Negra and soon were working our way back toward the head of the fleet.

As we left the lea of Lanzarote we changed to a J2 and full main combination for what would be a 200nm beat upwind. This was NOT in the brochure. This is the toughest point of sail for a crew just putting to sea and there were one or two who were suffering the effects of the green monster but pushing through.

Anyone who knows the yacht also knows that this is our least effective point of sail in terms of rating. We have a strong rating but a small waterline so upwind into a short sharp chop does not suit us at all. However as I write this our navigator Eric is happy with our position in the fleet and is confident we will see more of “our” conditions.

Another unexpected feature has been the squalls. I think it is fair to say that this race is not occurring in a “traditional” Atlantic weather pattern. Usually you get at least a few after leaving before you need to worry about squalls. We we have been getting them from day 1!

Usually I am used to having a RADAR. This is a very useful tool for plotting the movement of squalls and it gives you an idea of their size and potential intensity. Unfortunately as is the case of many yachts this size we do not have it so we rely on the Mark 1 eyeball. This is made all the more tricky at night as there will not be a good moon for this race.

Anyway we have been hit by numerous squalls. We have seen 36 kts of wind in the strongest what we call “givers” and 0 kts what we call “takers”. We have sat wallowing after one but went foiling at 17 kts during another., you really never can tell! One thing is for sure though. squalls mean crew work and as a result we have already used nearly every sail in our wardrobe already! The crew have been working really hard and I am certain I can count on that continuing.

Anyway I am due on watch. The crew are well and moral is good. We are currently in great conditions making good progress under our M0. We expect the wind to ease over the course of the morning as we push westwards.

“A climb to the top of a mountain no matter how large starts with the decision to take the first step”

Olly out...

Skipper blog November 18th

Skipper blog November 18th

Dear team Maverick fans,

I hope this blog finds you well. As I write this we are doing 16-17 kts in the Atlantic. We finally Got Maverick into her first ocean. This is what she was truly designed for.

Now I could tell you about lots of things, such as how in delivery mode we have hit 25 kts, or talk about the glorious sunsets we have had. But on this occasion I won't.

You see many back home think that this "yachting" job is all very glamorous. (This recently has not been helped by being based in St Tropez) it is not! Maverick is a stripped out race machine, so stripped out even that people from Volvo 70's have said "wow that is a very stripped out yacht".

This means all of our meals are freeze dried as we have no refrigeration. To cook these we have one "jet boil" that boils the water for us. There are no showers,  sinks or anything of the kind. We "hot bunk" apart from there are no bunks (that would be too heavy) so we use camping mats on the bare hull. To keep weight down there are no floor boards so keeping anything dry is a challenge.....etc. etc. I hope you get the idea.

The day to day business of "doing your business" is extremely difficult on board. So much so that in all of our racing and deliveries this is the first time that I have had to use Maverick'sfacilities. These extensive facilities consist of a bucket and a biodegradable bag. I can assume you get the idea from here? However to make matters more interesting the only real place on board for any "privacy" is the bow near the foil cases. I now imagine the vessel is doing 15-20 kts over an Atlantic swell. The experience is akin to getting drunk on tequila then being dared by a mate to sit on a bucket that is placed on top of the bar's mechanical rodeo machine. A challenge that has potentially disastrous repercussions if it goes wrong. Well on this trip we managed to make the challenge even harder, you see as with any yacht that goes this quickly she puts a lot of water over the deck. Some of this water inevitably ends up down below. This means that anything of importance that needs to be kept dry is kept in a dry bag. I bought a very bright blue dry bag for a very specific purpose (it had a very important job) it was to keep the toilet paper and associated supplies dry. This dry bag was carefully labeled and stored in a dry area of the yacht. it turns out however that a dry bag is only as dry as the huge hole that is left in it when it is left open! Yes ladies and gentlemen the yacht's supply of essential sanitary supplies are gone because SOMEONE left the bag open and and on the floor... Its a good thing Team Maverick run a no blame culture!

So at the moment there is a strong incentive for the delivery to happen quickly. Light winds are forecast further down the track so we will be using the motor. ETA at the moment looks like the evening of the 19th early on the 20th.

"Don't leave the toilet paper dry bag open!!!" Oliver Cotterell 2016

Olly out..

Experiencing foiling for the first time...

Experiencing foiling for the first time...

Joining us for a delivery Hannah Diamond talks foiling for the first time and all things Maverick!

A few hours after landing from my own Middle Sea Race Experience I was hurriedly re-packing my bag to head back out to Malta to deliver Maverick to Palma en route to the RORC Transatlantic start. I had been following the boat as I knew a couple of the team and saw their great result in the Middle Sea Race and jumped at the chance to have a go with the DSS foils - there’s not too many boats out there yet with these revolutionary appendages so it was definitely an experience to go for!

Fortunately all of the boats from the race had finished when the storm hit Malta with up to 50 knots which delayed the departure of many boats back to their home ports but it meant that I had a chance to fly out and jump on board literally as the boat was leaving the dock on its way to Palma. After a quick run through from Nikki, she threw us our lines and we headed off into the sunset for 750 nm of sailing North. The first night was pretty light winds with a bit of swell which was perfect for getting used to where everything was led to on the boat - no sail changes in the dark! From there we had a bit of everything weather wise, I woke up during my off watch to water screaming past the hull and footsteps up and down the deck as a second reef was put in, it sounded very wet but I jumped into my kit for my watch and had 4 awesome hours sailing between 12 and 14 knots of boat speed in ‘throttle back’ mode - it would definitely be cool to see what the boat can do in race mode! The foils made it so easy to just sit on the back of a wave and hold speed for miles and miles!

After a quick pit stop in Sardinia to refuel ourselves and the boat we headed back out and onwards to Palma, enjoying some awesome sunrises on my watch, a few dolphins as well as the amazing 3 in 1 coffee sachets which have revolutionised my offshore coffee drinking!

We arrived in Palma and it was straight into mini-refit mode for the boat, Kees and Eric had been compiling a jobs list throughout the delivery and the four of us got to work. It was really cool to be part of Team Maverick for the week and see how much effort everyone is putting in to make sure the boat is in the best possible place to put in a good result in the Transat!

Hannah Diamond