28 – 31 July 2012, Eastern Hemisphere
We left our anchorage for the busy starting area about an hour before the event was to begin. Several boats had left hours earlier or the day before to insure their arrival with \”the fleet\”. There were about 110 boats in the starting area and it was anything but organized. We left about 11:10 when it was clear that no formal start was to really take place.
Soon after we got going, the fleet separated into two as about 30 of the boats were heading to the alternate destination; Samulaki, Indonesia.
We hoisted the full main and spinnaker and were soon in the front with about 7 other boats. About 4:30 pm the wind completely quit and we all motored for anywhere between and hour and a half to three hours. We actually motored 84 minutes which was less than anyone around us. One boat who was next to us, ended up five miles ahead when the wind came back and everyone started to sail again.
I could tell from the predicted weather, it would be advantageous to be on the more western side of the course. That first night, it stated to blow and we briefly saw winds around 30 knots. With a full main and genoa poled out to windward on our port side, we steadily stayed left of the fleet and quickly got back into the front 5 boats. The second day was a bit of a washing machine as to the seas, so we didn\’t push our speed (we could have flown the spinnaker for 20 hours that we didn\’t!) and still managed to keep near the front. The second night was much more comfortable and on the third morning, we gybed the main, hoisted the spinnaker and were off.
We quickly realized by noon that due to our tactic of staying to the west side of the course, we were in the lead! We have a trans-ponding device aboard Beach House which shows us the speed, name and position of other boats similarly equipped. So it was fun to watch the video game on the chart plotter as the lead 5 boats all had this equipment. We had to gybe the spinnaker twice. Once after dark and in 23 knots of wind and building. Nikki did great for a spinnaker handling novice and we managed to reach the turning point at Timor Island about 7.5 miles ahead of the next boat, old friends, \”Pakia Mist\” who had steadily passed from about 7th place to second. 10 miles behind was \”Miss Beehaven\”, followed by \”Relapse\” and \”Sea Mist\”. The boats behind us were 50-56 feet long and mostly monohull flyers.
The last trick was to negotiate the approximately 100 fishing boats, improperly lit, and zigzagging everywhere amongst the arriving boats. It was like running a gauntlet. We all survived….:-)
We were the only boat that sailed almost to the anchorage and finally went to bed at 3:30 a.m. enjoying the results of our spirited competition amongst the 85 boats who sailed to Kupang.
Next – culture shock in Kupang!
KIT, Scott and Nikki