Sailing at Last

Race start day was Saturday 19th April. Absolutely perfect weather for the
occasion – bright blue skies with a stiff westerly so all boats started
with the first reef in their mainsail.

Clipper 70s are pretty impressive boats when you see them on their own but
to see 12 of them tight-tacking round the start line like a shoal of
sharks was just something else.

Then we were off – a heart-swelling moment as 12 racing yacht, all healed
over + squeezing everything out of the wind, headed out to sea under the
Golden Gate Bridge.

We had been promised tight-tacking, up wind sailing + that was what we got.
The deck seemingly vertical with the bottom rail slicing through the water.
The feeling was nothing short of exhilarating and Jamaica seemingly
alive, as she quivered under the power of the sails and sliced her way out
to sea.

However the high-light of the first day’s sailing has to be the sighting of
two humpback whales who came up along side the boat to blow and then dive,
the largest of the two doing that tail-salute farewell flourish thing that
whales do. Just Wow!

I was on mother duty first off – the nautical term for being ship’s cook
and general skivvy – so didn’t get to see much more of the sailing until I
resurfaced for air (hot inside the gallery) and by then we were sailing
down wind with the kite up + travelling at a presentable 12 knots.

Pure freedom. It has been down wind sailing for the last two days and we
are slowly working our way up through the fleet; GB is in sight on the
horizon and we hope to have overhauled her by day’s end.

The stiff winds have eased a little over the first two days so there is
less bucking from the boat making for an easier, although slightly slower,
ride. However, we are working on the speed bit.

And the weather could not have been better – sunshine + azure blue skies
during the day and a black star-studded sky with a Gouda cheese moon at
night; the sea a kaleidoscope of different blues to match. And wind – so
far a plentiful supply of that!


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