The Long One – Leg 2

By Mary Rook |

Dear fantastic followers, again this one was first published on Facebook but here it is again just in case you missed it. This Leg was particularly brutal and for me a real test of mental strength.


Leg 2 less physically lethal more death by self loathing. Started out in Spain on a sunny but fairly windless afternoon and after two perfect general recall starts we got off and I had a shocker but worked my way back into a clear lane and middle position for the rounding of the first mark.


Then with 265 miles on the clock until the next mark we had a few but exceptionally influential decisions about how to go into the first night which I made absolutely catastrophically wrong, parking myself in a wind hole for several hours and watching the fleet sail away into the sunset quite literally.

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The next two days were then on port tack across the mighty Bay of Biscay which wasn’t looking quite so fierce as our last outing but some of the waves were remaining making life on board and making progress generally hard work. Eventually we popped out and could see the beautiful sight of French land, you can smell it before you see it, the grass and the sunshine on salty beaches take it from me its quite wonderful especially after many many hours of wondering just quite how terrible at sailing you are and what IS the meaning of life.


My radio antenna decided to make a bid for freedom and fell into the sea on the second day leaving me quite alone with no radio communication or AIS (boat tracking so you can see where and how other people are doing) not to mention tactically disabled. In reality I wasn’t alone as a lot of the top boats also got shafted on the first night and with no tacking or tactical moves to do on this long ocean passage options were limited. At one point I was an incredible 25 miles and 6 hours behind the leader, when they told me this I cried.

Finally rounding the top mark with one of the fleet hero’s I felt a bit better and being on the other tack for a few hours at least was an absolute pleasure and I started to feel the other side of my body again.

The course was slightly shortened due to the flaky winds so we had a mere 200 odd further miles around the beautiful Belle island which we even managed to have a kite hoist for at least an hour breaking up the relentless monotony of going upwind. And as the fleet rounded the mark the tide against the leaders had managed to compress the fleet as the wind filled in from behind and unknown to me but I was getting closer and closer to the leaders.


Around the island there were rocks and tide and lots of nice wind effects to play with and I felt better about sailing and understanding what to do. As night drew in the most enormous thunder and lightening storm reared up behind us and squeezing between an island and the mainland I made the mistake of not turning around and seeing what was about to hit me when I suddenly felt the full force of the huge squall and had a rather frightening 20 minutes with my big kite up and no room to bear away. Trembling with fear and with visions of lifeboats scraping me up off the cliffs below me I managed to keep it together and produced some epic boat speed and closed in further on the becalmed pack in front just before the finish line. I kept my spinnaker up and with tide with me finished a much better hour and 20 minutes behind the leader. A punishing race yet again and now with less than a day to recover we face the 24 hour, leg 3. Sleep time x

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