A few weeks ago we blogged about James Hardiman's participation in the AZAB yacht race to raise money for cancer research. We are happy to report that James has reached the Azores after a few trials and is now preparing for the return leg.
James has sent us this report:
Race 1 completed: Falmouth to Azores, 9 days and 1145 miles. We finished position 16 (out of 60).
LATEST: I am sat in an internet cafe in Azores right now. Its raining and Im knackered! We arrived yesterday morning at about 8am in 16th position. We were the first "cruiser/racer" boat over the finish line by 20 hours - so I’m really happy with that. All other boats that crossed the line before us are true race machines!
After lots of wind, a few boat breakages, 2 hrs sleep a night, lots of Pot Noodle eating, living in a wet washing machine of a boat at 45 degree angles - we eventually had a good result.
Some interesting events;
1. The start was interesting. 10 mins before the cannon for class 3,I had to ascend the mast (twice) to unwind twisted ropes. We still made it to the line though and were 3rd over the line. Good start!
2. We pushed hard for 9 days, not relenting once. Major events were that we lost ALL our fresh water 4 hours after the start. Almost all our entire fresh water supply had leaked out and we had 9 days to go. Not good. We then set about tipping all our wine and spirits down the sink to bottle up what water remained in the tank. I even filled saucepans and a flares box.
3. Then the auto pilot (self steering) broke on day 2, and meant we had to hand steer in shifts all the way. We were knackered! This problem also affected 3 other boats, all of whom retired due to this. We are hardcore though!
4. Next event was that whilst surfing at 17kts (v fast) we nearly hit a whale bigger than the boat! This was a scary moment because if you hit one of those, chances are you will sink. Then a day later we saw 2 other whales “playing” alongside boat. Both massive beasts and worrying that they might take offence at our being there and bash up the boat!
5. Day 5 was horrid – we lost all wind after a force 7 (Yachts mans Gale as some call it). So from 35kts + to 0kts – a massive contrast. Lots of wind is clearly hard on the crew and boat and no wind might sound sublime but it is a sailor’s nightmare. Slapping sails means the boat rolls and is so heart numbing when racing.
6. Final major event/disappointment was that we reached the Azores and sat in a wind shadow (of the island) for ¾ of a day along with 3 other boats. This killed us. So annoying to push hard for over 1100 miles and then 20 miles before finish to sit there like a bobbing lemon (or is it duck?) Either way, we felt like lemons. Daft decision.
Anyway, if you have already donated, then thank you very much, it is a great charity and the funds raised this far will ease the pain for many families of cancer victims.
Don’t worry if you haven’t donated – the race ‘aint over yet. However do feel free to pledge, this is a very good cause. FEEL FREE TO DONATE!! http://www.sail4cancer.org/JamesAzab2011
Regards, James Hardiman"
James now has a few days' respite before the return voyage - best of luck James!
James is the boss of Alpine Elements and iGOSKi - offering holidays to the Alps for winter and summer too. Check out their chalets on Chalets Direct!