2014 Melbourne to Vanuatu race - ESCAPADE Report 3 July, 2014

Bit of a different day today, started running downwind with just the #4 in 25-30 kts doing 6s and 7s, finished the day with our largest rags up - full main and asymmetric spinnaker, doing 6s and 7s in 8 - 10 kts. In between the wind moderated gradually, the sky cleared, the sun came out and, oh, TRYBOOKING are spotted astern. "run out the guns" cries Captain Rob, "Clear for action" chirps Joey with a face splitting grin; enough of this cruising, lets get back to 'racing'.

A call to TRYBOOKING establishes that it is indeed them we can see. Our suggestion that they are the "sweep" boat and are not allowed to pass us is met with a response of "we're having cinnamon buns for breakfast". Back too work ... Main is up and reefs are shaken out, #4 replaced with #2, still looking good. Now for the big guns - the .75 Asymmetric - furtive looks are exchanged - no guts = no glory, lets do it.

Then, just to spoil our day, the spinaker halyard jammed with the spinaker 1.5m from the top but fortunately still in its sock. OK, we say tie it to the pulpit while we think about this. Hmmm, OK someone's going up, unnamed volunteer harnesses/helmets up, a plan is developed and they get as far as the spreaders before calling to be lowered. Mast is swaying too much.  Murray chips in with a previous solution, Robert and Joey come up with a modification - the topping lift is bowlined and looped around the sock, attached to a retrieval line and hauled up to pull the halyard free. Ah, I love it when a plan comes together.  A record (even for this crew) of 2 hours to launch the spinaker ... 10 minutes later the wind builds to 18+ and combined with the sea/swell state we round up 4 times before I give up "sock it". Back to the Main & #2 until it moderates properly around 4pm.


We're now expecting a night of light winds veering northerly and its a beautiful starry night with banana lounge moon lighting our way :)). full main and spinaker are still drawing us along as the wind lightens further.

Highlights of the day, toast and vegemite for breakfast, Moroccan Lamb and rice for lunch and the first issue of the ships grog (the fun way to avoid scurvy) is made at the 1800 watch change to the usual toast of "The King" (Neptune, Elvis or the Bonnie king over the sea for the Scottish contingent). The ladies have cheered up with a round of body wipes and fresh underthingies. The blokes are waiting for next monday - official "underwear change day" except for Joey who had a forced change after taking a wave while upside down in the anchor locker fixing the furler. Mr Gough "everything was was wet except my socks, that was until I stood up"

Its the 2100 watch change now so I'm off to bed.

Das Vidanya,
Vladimir, Tatiana and Svetlana