Memories from SailBook Cup 2013 – s/y Anitra
Saturday, at noon, start of the race, all boats are leaving the harbour, heading straight to the starting buoys. Unfortunately, except us. Anitra returns to the quays, because one of our crew members forgot the pouch with cables. Later we turned out, that we made the right decision, when we came back.
The wind was moderate and slowly we moved after the fleet.
At the sunset, the lower pressure system started to show on the shoreline. In the darkness, we saw great, silver-white lightning appearing on the black sky. After we came in the range of two, we heard Mariusz from Wareg on the radio (he accompanied contestants during 51 miles). He was close to Hel and he informed us, that these storms are over the peninsula, but one of them stared to chase us. Four people were stuck on a small, 8 metres boat, in the middle of the storm, surrounded by lightnings and thunders. It was unforgettable!
At the dawn there was sun and we were pushed by the wind straight to the Gotland. We thought that we were close to the target, but the first calm reached us near the south tip of the island. We had to struggle with this till the next day. During the calm also fog came along. Visibility: null. We were catching the white fog in spider webs.
And then we saw some marvelous white rainbow, that looked like a gateway to another world! We ate pancakes made by Magda, and we started to getting bored. Andrzej, Anitra’s captain, used his own muscles to move the boat a little bit forward, and I must say, he made it.
Around the noon, success! Anitra is moving forward in the right direction! We saw the island and eureka! We saw three sailboats in front of us, hooray! We caught up the others!
But, unfortunately, it just took a while and once again we got stuck (on the radio someone said it’s “aggressive zero”). But we didn’t waste the time, we rehearsed “man overboard” maneuver and saved big wheel, which looked like a huge pink donut with colored sprinkles. We tied it up to the helm, like a trophy, and later we came into the harbour with it.
We were tired of this wagging so we decided to use our colorful spinnaker and shortly after that we came into the harbour – we were the last team – but hooray! We made it!
On the shore we shared stories with other crews, there was a time to integrate with each other etc.
During the briefing we all decided to start at 8.00 a.m. on Thursday, but on the Wednesday evening, during the party at the quay, one of the teams decided to go at 11.00 p.m. on Wednesday, so the rest of the teams made a quick decision to restart at 00.00 from Wednesday to Thursday. 11.45 p.m. – we’re still sitting and chatting, when suddenly someone yells: “15 minutes left!”.
All teams in a rush jumped to their yachts, and we sailed away from the quay with the applause of the Swedish sailors. All boats were flying on their spinnakers on the top of the Gotland – it was a lovely view and a time was also not bad.
But hey, no one promised it would be easy all the way – the third calm, again, amazing zero. We saw the herd of white horses on the shore, great view.
Thursday evening, 4-6 knots of speed, still forward – boredom. During the night the wind increased and in the morning we’ve had an impression that Neptune got mad. Fortunately, we managed to reef. The waves became larger, from 3 to 4 meters, the wind was strange, as it was its punishment to blow, it didn’t rain at least.
Our GPS was broken, we had no idea about our position, but then we thought about our pouch with cables – we found manual GPS, we plugged it into the radio and we were saved! We can see the ships! We have the satellite coordinates!
But the local squall still continues, and it doesn’t care about our damages. One time, we saw two waves and we felt like in “The Perfect storm”. We were afraid and we were far away from home… God, what am I doing here?!
To make things worse, our boat started to ship water, toilet stopped working, bilges were full of water – that was awful, and the wind was still blowing – 12 hours of horror. Fortunately, we could hear Endorphine.
Finally the calm, we can see Hel, and it was raining in the bay.
We crossed the finish line on Saturday morning. We survived! We can’t wait for ne next edition of Sailbook Cup. It was great.
Renia i Andrzej from s/y Anitra