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oliver cotterell

Skipper Olly RORC Transatlantic blog: Day 6

Skipper Olly RORC Transatlantic blog: Day 6

Good Morning team Maverick Fans!

Welcome to day 6.Apologies that there was no blog on Day 5 but we had a bit on. The sailing went relatively to plan as per my blog on day 4. We continued to head west and the breeze built as the afternoon went on and veered onto our beam. We moved through the wardrobe untill we ended upon the Jib top Genoa Staysail combo (one of our favorites on the yacht) as the wind built so did the boat speeds until we were regularly sitting in the high teens low 20's of boat speed. It was still light but I was below trying toget some sleep. I knew that I would have to pilot the yacht in the pitch dark of night.

Just before dusk we played with a few sail settings (reefs etc) to try and find the optimum. Strangely we took too much sail off and the yacht lost her dynamic stability and we could not make good progress. This meant we returned to one reef and got ready.

I have never had an experience like this. Regardless of the outcome of this race (which I am still hopeful will be a good one) helming a 46 ft yacht at regular speeds in excess of 20 kts at night with no moon, no stars and no horizon in short sharp seas was a phenomenal experience. All I could see was the green and red hugh of the navlights as it light up the huge amounts of spray.

I must say thanks to Ocean Rodeo for the dry suits. They were fantastic in the supremely wet conditions and I have been living in mine for the last few days.

Too the now. We eventually (sooner than we hoped) had to stop foiling ad go into an upwind mode as the wind veered further ahead of the front. This was forcing us north but we held our nerve and in the early morning the front went through with 34 kts of wind as its peak wind speed. Soon after we tacked over onto the other board to start heading south. Initially we were again in an upwind mode but have been slowly freed (too slowly) as the wind continues to veer. Unfortunately the wind we are now experiencing is a bit less than we hoped for and we cant quite keep Maverick on the foil. It is ossilating between 10 and 14 kts. This is not ideal as we need to foil in order to compete with the much larger yachts. We also need to make good progress south before the large developing high pressure makes things too flat.

The likelihood is that we will need to work through a transition zone sometime tomorrow and we will finally be in the trades (although weak ones).

In other news Piers seems to be reacting well to the cocktail of medication I have given him (other than falling over on the bow a lot,). And this may seem funny but as theHydraulic oil levels are falling more slowly as we use the keel less and Sean had a nice birthday. We have another birthday soon with Mr. Kees Postma having his first birthday at sea.

Down below is in pretty good shape but I am looking forward to conditions that will allow us to dry down below out. The sails collect a huge amount of water and we have to live with them down below. I'm just about to go and help Kees bail. As this yacht has no bilges if you do not bail out the water you get to live in it. Not condusive to a comfortable crossing!

I have only just discovered the Expeditions foods Custard and Apple and Beef Strogonoff. They are fantastic.

Anyway that is all for now peeps....

"When I'm old, i plan to look back on my life and say, 'wow, that was an adventure,' not, 'wow, I sure felt safe," Tom preston-werner

Olly 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 update 17th November

Skipper blog update 17th November

Hello Team Maverick fans!

Well we are making good progress. Things are going well. We are in the Atlantic!!

It is starting to warm up which is nice as a few of the crew myself included had everything we owned on and were getting cold after a watch. Efficient packing I say!

Last night we passed though the straits of Gibraltar. We pulled the foils in as we were afraid of debris which we would not be able to see.  We ran under a reefed main and GS (Genoa Staysail). The conservative sail plan meant we navigated the strait with ease, known for its orographic channeling of the wind. However our premonition of the debris was correct. We had at least three rudder strikes and a keel strike.

There has been some minor damage to the rudder top plate but we will know more when we can inspect the underside of the yacht in Lanza. If the weather permits I might dive on the hull later in the trip.

Other than that all is well on board with he watches ticking through and the miles falling. We will have lots to do in Lanza so getting in a few days early is going to be welcome..

Oh yeah last night we had a GREEN FLASH!!!

"The regrets a person most has are those they did not commit when they had the opportunity"

Olly Out

Maverick skipper blog update 15th November

Maverick skipper blog update 15th November

Good Morning Team Maverick Fans,

We are making good progress under "Iron Mainsail tonight" the moon is very large making the evening watch pleasant in the cool Mediterranean  air. Turns out with world events there is plenty to talk about.... I dropped the "Trump........... discuss" early doors in the watch.

The Palma stopover has been hectic. There was a lot to get done and the repair to the "Universal Joint" in the prop shaft was an unexpected occurrence from the Malta Palma delivery. Unfortunately this cost the team approximately three days of work.

The good news is that most of the important parts of "the list" have been dealt with and if the delivery proves to be fast we should get into Lanzarote (or Lanza as Nikki likes to call it) in good time. We aim to have Maverick at her best for the RORC Transatlantic Race but still have some work to do.

We have a good delivery crew on board with Archie Willis (normally full time on Ranger), Eric Holden, the wonderful Katherine Knight, Edoardo Bianchi (normally the Mate for Sean MCcarter) the delectable Nikki Curwen and myself.

We sent Kees ashore to be shore support and make sure that he arrives in Lanza with all the bits and bobs we might need!

It looks like the wind is going to fill in from the NE around midday tomorrow. We should be well past Ibiza and are hoping that this will give us a good push.

The Med rightly has a reputation for having too much wind or not enough. We are trying to get west as it is likely to be a bit less windy when it does arrive. We are all hoping that the GRIBS are accurate and we don't have one last big Med blow. It will be nice to turn off the engine as there is no insulation in the boat (too heavy) so it is very loud and hot!

Thanks as ever for all the support. I am heading back up on deck away from the racket of the engine to enjoy the rest of my watch.

Tonight I'd like to give a shout out to my Aunty Lindy and Aunty Sandy who will be watching our progress on the Yellow Brick!!

"Just keep swimming" Dory Finding Nemo....

Oliver Cotterell (Skipper)

Blog update from the Rolex Middle Sea Race

Blog update from the Rolex Middle Sea Race

Skipper Olly blog update from the race...

Hello Team Maverick fans!

Well as I write this it is 0600 on the morning of the 24th. We have made much better progress than anticipated in our pre departure routing and briefings.

The race so far has been great for us. We have been working tirelessly to keep the yacht moving with her optimal sail plan. We have only seven crew on-board which means everyone gets up for every maneuver.

There have been a couple of interesting transition zones so far (and we are currently hopefully on the way out of one) but our new spinnaker staysail has been fantastic as a drifter/ SS combo.

The routing initially suggested that we would not have any foiling action. I am pleased to announce this has not been the case with our top speed being around 18kts yesterday while running under the A1.5.

As with any new yacht we have had to work really hard on improving the reliability of some of the systems. The team has done a great job and so far everything has been working as it should. The water maker, hydraulics, sat Comms, GSM comms, engine etc have all been behaving at the same time. A first a race! This means we have really been able to concentrate on performance and experiment with ideas. 

Anyway I hope this blog finds you all well....

Goodbye from the good ship Maverick

"A wise man learns from his mistakes, a genius learns from others mistakes" Anon

Skipper Olly

Skipper race report: Palermo-Montecarlo

Skipper race report: Palermo-Montecarlo

Event: Palermo Monte Carlo

Start Date: 21st August 2016

Course: Mondello Bay (Sicily)to Porto Chervo Gate to Monte Carlo

Team Sheet:

Skipper: Oliver Cotterell

Navigator: Eric Holden

Crew: Kees Postma, Nikki Curwen, Quentin Stewart, Piers Hugh Smith, John Milsom, Sean McCarter

Weather summary

The forecast was for light winds throughout the race. We left at 12:00 local time on the 21st, a Mistral was forecast to grow in the north. However it was not forecast to come as far south or be as prevalent a feature as it turned out to be. The Mistral had more force to it and pushed further south more quickly than initial models anticipated.

We departed in what I am told are classic Palermo conditions with a weak sea breeze developing just in time to get everyone over the line and safely away down the course.

As the day drew on and we got further from Sicily the sea breeze wore off and light fluky conditions took over through the night.

On the morning of the 22nd as the fleet pushed north and the effect of the Mistral pushed south the wind built from the N/NNE so that the fleet were pushing into 20-30 kts on the bow I think we saw 35 kts true wind as our highest gust. This wind held at between 15-25 kts maybe veering a little further to the east as we were approaching the Porto Chervo gate.

Corsica caused a wind shadow and while this was a difficult transition zone it also provided some time to get on top of our systems and dry the boat out a bit!

Once out of the lea of Corsica we were back into close-hauled conditions in 20-25 kts of wind. This lasted approximately two to three hours before light fluky conditions saw us all the way home to Monaco.

The report

Firstly I would like to sing the praises of the Palermo Monte Carlo Race. The race was a fun, challenging offshore race and I am sure the event will go from strength to strength and continue to grow. I found the organisation of the event to be excellent, the people friendly, the hospitality superb and the race itself exhilarating throwing in some interesting conditions.

This was Maverick’s second race and the first with this crew and as such achieving a 4th over the line is a result we are proud of. I must say a massive thank you to all the crew who have worked tirelessly on the yacht to make this all possible. We are a very small team and everyone has to contribute in multiple areas to make the program a success.

The event was exactly what we hoped it would be. With the relatively strong head winds we encountered the crew really got to stress test the yacht and learn more about how her systems would operate over prolonged periods in race conditions. As a result of this there is still a lot of work to do but all the time we are learning and moving forward.

Most of the race was either sailing in very light variable conditions or sailing close-hauled into strong winds. In total we were only foiling for probably an hour, in this time, while reaching under a “Jib Top” and “Main,” we managed a top speed of 22.5 kts with sustained averages in the high teens. The speed and stability of the yacht when she is foiling continues to impress me. I have never experienced acceleration on a sailing yacht like this. I was very impressed with how stiff and strong the yacht was. We really threw her off some waves at very high speeds and not only did she take it all in her stride but she behaved very well while doing it!

Certainly, as a skipper, my confidence in here strength has been galvanised after this event.

We had a lot of challenges with various systems during the race and we will be working hard to improve the resilience and reliability of these systems before our next event. As with any race, in hindsight, there are areas I feel that we could have done better. The important thing, indeed what we aim to do as a team, is learn from each event and try and improve in all areas so that better performance results. The yacht is definitely fast, but it is not enough to be fast to do well in these events. Holistically everything must come together and be correct, from sail trim and tactics to rule compliance and the inevitable dreaded “admin”. We are proud that we achieved 4th over the line in the Palermo Monte Carlo Race and are confident that as our time on the water and experience improves so will the performance we can extract out of our yacht.

Finally I would like to congratulate the crew of Rambler 88 on their Line Honours Victory. The crew of Scricca for coming first in ORC and the crew of Desperado for coming first in IRC. They all sailed great races and earned well deserved results.

That's all for now...

"Creativity is contagious, pass it on," Albert Einstein

#BeAMaverick

Olly

(Skipper, Team Maverick)