“We slowly stay ahead”
We would like to invite you to read a report from cpt. Jacek Zieliński about SailBook Cup 2013, published by the media patron of the regatta – SSI Jerzy Kuliński.
So, this is the end of the third long-distance (over 500 miles) sea regatta for “typical” boats. Even for the old ones. No professionals, none of those chasing the triangle, no herrings (except those on the plate in Visby). Truly amateur fun in sea racing. The course of the race showed, that the participants are able to have fun. Yachts started from Gdańsk next day after I devoured boar with other contestants (you can find it in the SSI). The route ran around Gotland. The halfway point in Visby, because it would be the unpardonable sin not to feel the wonderful and special atmosphere of the capital of the largest island of the Baltic Sea. Report wrote Jacek Zieliński – the main organiser of the event.
Congratulations to all!
Zbigniew Rembiewski wrote about vests separately.
This is the third edition of the race, and we’re receiving more and more notifications year after year. It is heartening J Once again the budget entities of Pomerania failed me, apparently you have to be Olympian to get any higher support than patronage and consent to put logo on our releases… If we compare a city of Gdansk and Pomerania’s support for different events, we get a null pln for SailBook Cup, and a few thousands for weekend regattas, e.g. Tri-City Sailing Cup.
We lose our willing to organise anything for anyone. Is there any better, or more simple way of maritime education than “Write and Swim” competition? Real sea sailing, jump in at the deep end, adventure, fear, challenge and a huge satisfaction!
Well, c’est la vie… I think that we could not utilize our work and financial contribution any better (although my wife does not agree with it, but she doesn’t read the SSI ;))
Thanks to generous support from sailing world, mostly from abroad, the founders of such great prizes (definitely worth those 500 miles struggling in the Baltic Sea), and Pomeranian Sailing Association benevolence – owning to the fact we could realize this project.
HUGE “THANK YOU” FOR OUR SPONSORS!
HUGE “THANK YOU” FOR KASIA AND OLA!
HUGE “THANK YOU” FOR POZŻ, JSG AND MOSIR OF GDAŃSK!
I couldn’t make it without you, without your help and benevolence there would be no Sailbook Cup regatta at all. Thank you very much.
Friday, August 2
Not everyone arrived at JSG on time, apparently meat must be held, but boar may stay, and indeed, we didn’t run off it till 2.00 a.m., when the others arrived. Perhaps we should have punished crews, who didn’t participate in training, but we agreed that it would be much harder for them without our punishment.
Saturday, August 3
Contestants, all brave and eager for a real adventure, came up at the briefing – it was going to be at least 4 days of heavy fighting.
Cpt. Łukasz Politański, s/y Facil/Elblag,
Cpt. Andrzej Grzejszczak, s/y Anitra/PMC,
Cpt. Adam Walczukiewicz, s/y Manjana/PMC,
Cpt. Siergiej Pavlenko, s/y Blagodarnost/NW,
Cpt. Zbigniew Rembiewski, s/y Słoni/JSG,
Cpt. Jan Kozarzewski, s/y SeaBee/AZS Gdansk,
Cpt. Andrzej Kruszczyński, s/y Resumee/ YKP Gdynia,
Cpt. Artur Sykson, s/y Bystrze,
Cpt. Eugeniusz Jadczuk, s/y Barnaba/ JK Conrad,
Cpt. Robert Niewiński, s/y Endorphine
And me, s/y Quick Livener/PMC.
After briefing and handshakes we had to move on fast, because the start was planned at 12.00, and weather forecasts weren’t very optimistic. At Quick were Szymon and Monika, two winners of “Write and Swim” competition, Aleksandra, our editor in chief, and one evil captain – me.
None of them was at sea yet (only Szymon has experience in racing on the water of the bay and various lakes). In for an inch, in for a mile.
Czarodziejka, Major and Wareg, winner of the Navslide adjustable tubing amount, accompanied us from the start line to the Visby. We are happy that you supported us for such a long time.
As for me, and probably other contestens, Barnaba were a real dark horse – the 37 tones followed after Pavlenko to the Visby almost like a locomotive.
1.30 p.m. – two miles to Hel, Endorphine is getting closer to us, Słoni at left, so the decision was clear – we empty one of water tanks and pray, that getting rid of 120 liters of water is going to help. We’re flying 7 knots, maximum, and straight to the north.
3.42 p.m. – gentle waves are causing sleepiness in entire crew, 127 miles separating us from the Isle of Gotland, 7,3 knots of speed, skippers started to realize their strategies. I’m still working with trim of the sails.
6.40 p.m. – I fell asleep, still on the course, we can see that Endorphina is still close to us – we feel the adrenaline rush, average speed – 7 knots. Wareg and Mariusz probably turned at 6.00 p.m.
8.30 p.m. – Monika from “Write and Swim” doesn’t feel very well; our maximum speed: 7,7 knots!
10.30 p.m. – Green tops and the left – is that so, Słoni? I rigged the gennaker, crew members are taking a bath in the evening – more liters of water overboard, it will be easier for Quick! Speed: 7,6 knots.
10.45 p.m. – Somehow, I don’t want to fight with aggregate, so we use the engine, N55.36 E018.39.
11.20 p.m. – The engine stops: N55.40 E018.38. The crew report about approaching storm and lightnings somewhere fat at the south. My instructions: we all stuck in the cockpit and we’re exhausting ourselves to the death – this is the only way to fall asleep without sicknesses. To calm them I explained that I will reduce mainsail, and we will wait for the squall only with genoa (which is easy to furl). Later I had to pay for this decision – lack of swimming skills in the team.
Sunday, August 4
5.00 a.m. – Ola wakes me up and reports that the Słoni just passed us by on yellow spinnaker with huge speed. I jump into the cockpit without morning shower – I must admit that I overslept (as rigging mainsail, squall, that didn’t hit us and we’re still with genoa!).
Ola is at the helm, autopilot is on standby, and we need to set us to the wind. There was not time to think about a vest than. I didn’t want to lose just because I overslept. And it was an error after error: I knew that my crew is untrained and I could do it by myself, as always, but it’s all about being team – each and every one of us can do something to win, or lose.
So anyway, Ola slowly started to stand up to the wind, she didn’t select the mainsheet, so it almost hit me twice. Ready to select the halyard, I glanced at to top, if it’s time and suddenly, shot in the head. Capstan was in my blood, a million thoughts ran through my head, when I lose my consciousness, what will they do without me? I didn’t say how to start the engine yet, how to roll genoa, ok, maybe they call for help using radio or phone, but what about Quick? I tried not to look at Ola, she was scared and I knew that she thought it’s her fault. I set the course on autopilot, I took mainsail, and only blood on my neck was getting on my nerves.
I am a hypochondriac, so I was afraid to touch the wound and check if there’s a hole made by boom or just a cut… I took a towel from the railing and made an inspection.
But we were on the right course!
6.09 a.m. – 41 miles left to Gotland, weather forecast came true, there’s a lack of wind.
8.00 a.m. – We’re passing by Słoni, Sea Bee is right behind us for sure, but Endorphina is 5 miles ahead! I feel sort of sore, a little bit scared and I’m losing faith that we can ever regain this loss. I have never sailed by one sail during the regatta, so I guess that’s the punishment :).
12.30 – 3 miles left to turn to the west.
3.43 p.m. – Lack of wind – 8 knots, it’s still wavy and we’re slowly breaking forward. Speed – 3,5 knots, and after hitting every wave it drops to 0,8. It’s annoying, my head hurts and we’re crawling:/ We’re going to eat broccoli, so we need something to them:)
4.50 p.m – Speed: 3,5 knots. It’s hot, so we’re catching some suntan, while waiting for broccoli. Someone is acting as a cook, so we will eat sandwiches and sausages with our broccoli, that’s nice. And there goes Słoni – larger and longer boat is not always faster on the wave, every hull has his own wave and wind, and we saw Słoni’s hull (typical for lake) as it simply flew straight to Visby!
6.20 p.m. – Headache is a great excuse not to carry the aggregate, but if not me, then who? The weight of the rest of the crew is around 104 kg:) Our position – N57.01 E018.03. The wind blows from the west, speed from 3,6 to 3,9 knots, we trim the sails gently and we move on slowly… We can hear Anitra and Bystrze on the radio, so it’s too late now, but I’m motivated to catch some dying wind.
6.40 p.m. – I discontinue to use the engine. Position: N57.03 E018.04. Włodzimierz Machnikowski from Radio Gdańsk is calling, and I gave him the wrong names of my crew members – though we sail together nearly 1,5 days. I’m not very proud of myself.
8.36 p.m. – I’ve dragged out the aggregate, we’ll have some warm water for a bath, and another liters of water will go overboard. Amazing sunset, no sign of Słoni, but from the years of practice I know, that it’s presents would be better result for Quick. The wind is getting weaker and weaker… Captain Kruchy from Resumee used to say: “We slowly stay ahead” :)
9.45 p.m. – 10 miles left for the island! Sergei had been already in Visby (from 2.00 p.m.). Słoni went more to the west, so we have advantage! News from 72. channel: Anitra has some problems with the currents, Endorphine at the autopilot, Resumee with pink spinnaker – straight from Beata Use. I’m listening to our power eater and I’m thinking about the future: I would like to install the wind autopilot. Now our speed is 0,3 knots.
11.20 p.m. – Night is beautiful and hot, the crew is sleeping, and I started to dance with spinnaker, gennaker, genoa – all possible configurations on the Baltic, near Gotland. Is there something more beautiful? DEFINITELY NOT! Speed: 2,5 knots, I feel tired but there were rocks everywhere… 22 miles left to the Visby.
Monday, August 5
00.31 – Lilia Karlskro on the starboard. I turned the engine on, because the gas from aggregate don’t want to leave Quick somehow. N57.18 E018.05, I raise spinnaker once again and – 2,5 knots of speed.
1.27 a.m. – I turned off the engine, N57.20 E018.05.
3.24 a.m. – I am exhausted, it’s dawn, fog… I’m waking up Ola for her first watch, and she smiles at me weirdly! She probably thought I was joking, and I’m going back to the cockpit, alone.
4.30 a.m. – Another try: the effect is the same – I received a huge Slavic smile from Ola! I felt like a fool and I went for the last 19 minutes of snooze in Małachowski’s wet sleeping bag, proven during the Battle of Gotland. In the morning I asked Ola, what is that insubordination supposed to mean. Her response was that she always smiles in the morning unconsciously, and she didn’t get up, because I didn’t wake her up. Well… There will be time to sleep off.
6.00 a.m. – Great news, according to tracking report Słoni and Barnaba are ahead! These are true friends – they’we waited :) Barnaba, with its 37 tons, need some steam, and Słoni use this immediately. I must admit, that the morning breeze will allow us to welcome Barnaba in Visby, but from the far west with one tack Barnaba reach the entrance of the harbour. We made it a few minutes after: at 11.12.55.
Considering the first stage, Zbyszek Rembiewski with Słoni deserves for huge applause: he crossed the finish line as second in general, with Pegaz 800, three crew members and without the autopilot. That’s amazing! And Zbyszek is an amazing guy!
In Visby after claring we were walking down the charming streets and just admire how other people are having fun: people dressed in costumes – it was the Middle Ages Week.
The rest of the boats anchored in the Baltic Sea, while waiting for some wind. The last boat – Anitra – hit the finish line at 2 a.m. Of course, we welcomed the skipper and his crew. We exchanged our experience, stories, strategies, what went wrong and so on. We were proud that we finished the race – that’s what’s all about!
Tuesday, August 8
The next day we woke up at 10.00 a.m. – Barnaba was already starting its way back home – the crew was afraid that they get stuck somewhere without any wind (according to the weather forecast). But life is life, and they could not avoid small stopover on the Baltic :)
In accordance with the sailing instruction, there was no obligation to start the second stage at the same time. Me, Ola and our winners took a trip in rented car and we admired the cliffs and Gotland beaches full of rocks. There was a briefing for skippers in the evening. There we decided to organise “Polish Day in Visby”, and start again at 00.00. Unfortunately, we had to start at 00.20, because of the ferry Gotland. Six boats moved together along the shore to go around Gotland and straight to home.
Wednesday, August 7
This was the half point of the adventure, and now we’re going back home.
We were last before and after Faro, so there’s not much to write about – we were a little bit sad. I tried to console my crew, that each boat has its own wind and it’s definitely not for Quick and moreover, this is not proper when organiser wins. The participation in the regatta is based at ability to lose (with honor). I was a little bit annoyed when I was listening at 72. channel how my opponents were making jokes but their good mood only gave me strength to fight. Endorphine has only 20 miles of advantage, and the weather is very tricky…
11.31 a.m. – We’re passing Faro, average speed – 2 knots.
12.25 p.m. – The engine stops – N57.59 E019.22
4.14 p.m. – Skipper’s stuff, and we began to feel wind, speed: 3,0 knots. Only the crackling of sails is irritating.
4.40 p.m. – Another snooze in sleeping bag, speed: 5 knots.
5.26 p.m. – 196 miles to Hel. We can hear Sea Bee on 72. channel, but they can’t hear us, guess they are somewhere around.
8.41 p.m. – 186 miles to the target, speed: 3-4 knots. Dinner, shanties – we decided together with Szymon the “Men Day” and as a gesture of good will, we promised our ladies the “Women Day” that will take place for in two weeks (if we will continue the race). They were delighted!
9.45 p.m. – The wind blows from the east, my favourite one, so spinnaker goes up! Speed: 3 knots.
Thursday, August 8
00.05 – Amazing hot night, stars, no wave, sleep on the bow, we fly with basic sails… I must admit it happens the first time in my life. It’s hard to describe, so you just need to imagine that.
00.38 – The calm.
1.00 a.m. – The southwest wind blows, straight to Hel, our speed: 3 knots:)
3.00 a.m. – The wind has changed again, no time for sleep… Quick settings changeover, the course stays unchanged.
12.00 – I woke up and saw some mysterious cakes made by Ola. She is a vegetarian, so I have to forget about a meat near her. I look at the cakes, there’s something strange about them… is this some kind of trick? Apparently everyone had eaten and they are still alive, but they’re watching me and it’s suspicious! Yesterday we had “Men Day”, so I need to be wary. It was short decision – I threw them overboard when I had a chance. I thanked politely and gave back a clean plate. I am writing about this, because it’s already got out. The other results of our “Men Day”: Ola initiated “historical changes”, that mean if she cooks, I will have to wash the dishes;/ My crew is so vindictive, but the race is not done yet.
We can hear the chatting between Barnaba, Sea Bee and Endorphina, so they are well moored :)
4.00 p.m. – It’s ok, apparently night settings and choosing a shorter route was a good idea, Endorphine is far on our 8. We can hear the storm in the distance.
5.30 p.m. – A fresh breeze from the east gives us 5,8 knots of speed, but we have to trim the sails, because of constant changes. It feels like the weather is going to change.
8.43 p.m. – Lack of the wind and another change, speed: 1,6 knots (only!)
10.30 p.m. – Speed: 3 knots, Endorphine reported that west wind between 20 knots is getting close, Szymon i Monika are sleeping, Ola and I started to hide food and everything that is not attached to the deck. We’re thinking about the reef. I had no desire to reef, and I thought it was of Ola’s presence on board – you know, Ola + boom = … maybe later? My final decision was to postpone the kip genoa back, and loose boom vang.
This is the race, not maritime education program.
11.39 p.m. – The wind started to blow faster, the wave is slowly growing, we’re waiting for 20 knots of the wind.
Friday, August 9
00.40 – Lack of visibility, the course is perfect, speed: 5,4 knots. According to the GPS, our time of arrival to Hel is 4.30 p.m.
2.24 a.m. – No more games! Speed of the wind: 6,7 knots. When autopilot goes mad and it drops off and the water is seeping into the cockpit, it’s scary, dark, and now I definitely have no inspiration to reef.
6.10 am – The aggregate is flooded and I cannot turn it on and I am not a big fan of turning on the engine in such a large inclination, but I have no other choice – it’s turning off in a while. Lack of oil and heeling resulted as aeration of the fuel, and I was so proud of Honda aggregate, still in Visby… I should have kept my mouth shut. It seems that I have to use batteries to the end, but in case it wouldn’t work, I will have to teach my exhausted crew manual navigation.
I’m not used to sail with such a large crew, so we have some problems with sleeping logistics. Three double bunks, three people – last free bunk is on the windward and without a storm cover, so it doesn’t count, cockpit… I am not a seal. I’m sure the wind is stronger than 20 knots, we’re diving into the waves again and again, and this full set of sails…
This is my only chance to improve our results after serious pounding on our way from Visby.
So I have no choice and I have to share a bunk with the first officer. Of course, sleepy Ola answered for my request with her “Slavic smile”. I wasn’t sure if she sleeps and smiles, or she agrees and smiles or whatever… Exhausted, I lay down at the end of a bunk, and after few 19 minutes of snooze I heard, that it is not pleasant to be pinned by 90 kilos of muscles, and pushed at the pile of clothes, bags and shoes…
It’s all about my first officer! I wasn’t in a mood so I just muttered that we’ll talk about it tomorrow:) She couldn’t stand it so she took the watch! She has a big heart :D
12.30 – The wind turns into 20 knots and it stood still, so we were able to put the correct course, speed: 7,4 knots. I took care of aggregate, the crew took care of navigation – quite large zigzags, as for regattas :)
Aggregate was still silent, heeling decreased, so we could turn on the engine. I was content and started to sing: “I won’t go back to the sea…”. Speed: 8,4 knots!
1.17 p.m. – Our position: N54.57 E18.48.
5.52 p.m. – The bay! The Szymon’s nausea passed, Monika finally got up. And speed: 8 knots!
6.43’55 p.m. – The FINISH LINE!
I know that Quick has more potential, but the safety of our first, and probably last winners was more important. It was something new for both of us, and not so good choice of insurer – Pantaenius Poland – didn’t encourage to take the risk and pay higher insurance premium:)
I know that the regatta is difficult, but only that kind of race can bring so much satisfaction to all participants and those, who completed the race. I would like to thank to all colleagues, friends, sailors for taking the challenge. I don’t know the result of the race yet, because we are waiting for the rest of time results – accordance with the most important principle of the regatta: “gentlemen’s agreement”.
We will check how many mistakes were made among out 10 boats – I have honestly confessed mine:)
As I look at the start list I am certain that this is not battle of famous names, but this is the race for ambitious amateurs – I invite only those ;)
The closing ceremony of regatta starts at 5.00 p.m. on this Friday (August 16) at POZŻ headquarters. All participants are invited.