This Way Up – Iberia Race (110 nautiical miles) – The team placed 2nd in Division Two IRC and YAH.
We started Friday 6 pm on a No.3 in +20 Kn of breeze on the nose and a lumpy sea. A most excelent start too with TWU hitting the line in clear air first. The course took us down the marked channel south and out through Challenge passage. Once outside of Cockburn Sound we were treated to natures full force of wind (+25 kn) and waves (around 2 mt – the lumpy sort, not the nice rolling ones)…. We headed south, tacking a number of times to stay east of Coventry reef.
The sunset, crew climbed into the night gear – PFD's, PLB's full wet weather gear. All crew on the rail hiking for the night. We were getting smashed by waves over the boat. I was soaked through….. wellies with water in…. wet on the inside and outside of the "wet weather" gear….. cold wind, cold all over, looking forward to the warmth of the next wave over….. and sea sick (with half the crew) – that was fine as there were so many waves hitting us it didn't matter…. we "slept" on the rail.
The No. 3 sail blew up and shocked us into action around midnight – 1 am.
We put up the No. 4.
That also blew up a few hours later with averages of well over 30 knots of wind - sometime in the early hours of Saturday morning. Just south of Mandurah. At that point someone recommended the big "S2 kite" and to turn the boat around and head for port. It was ignored.
We put up the storm jib. It's so cute, like a glow-in-the dark oversized hanky!
Due to the wind direction and wanting to stay inside the reef system we had to do a number of tacks through the night. At one point "touching down" on something through a tack. With a sea of about 2 – 2.5 m and the wind tacking was always something to be carefully timed and make sure all crew stayed on the boat.
We saw over 35 Kn at times, and some sustained periods over 30 Kn during the race.
My only one joy was my fleecy lined waterproof hat – warm head.
At 3 am in the morning I was thinking, "This is the last blue water race ever. I'm nuts, not doing this again… never, ever. I'm hanging up my soggy wellies and soggy wet weather gear and my soggy thermals and just going to stick to day races. I'm done".
I got to go down for a sleep below deck at 5:30 am…… shivering (no blankets on board due to weight)….. up around 9:30 – coffee, food, sun…. still really cold…. thawed out eventually… then bacon & egg pie on the rail (no sauce – too rough to pass along) – voted best rail food by the crew. As the sun rose spirits lifted.
We were able to put up the No. 2 jib around 6 am. The wind eased (around 18 – 25 Kn) and the water flattened. All was good…….. as the finish line neared excitement built.
TWU crossed the line around 2:30 pm……20 hours of bashing into waves and a strong southerly……..
I'll be checking out wet weather gear and mid-layers that is up to the conditions and those wellies that have 2 top bits and don't get water in for the next blue water race……
The results and welcoming committee at Geographe Bay Marina made it all worthwhile!
Story by "TWU Newbie Crewbie"