Mini in May 🌊🔨⏰🥶🦪🦐🥵⛈️🏁
8th in Proto. 49/100 finishers. Lots of glitches, fly problem and Lili loves seafood.
Lili had a small accident with her keel . She had her keel repaired in emergency to participate in the race. All thanks to the best friends in the world hehe ❤️🙏
I took this opportunity to focus on other aspects than performance, especially the management on board.çDuring 3-4 days of strong wind, I had to get to know Lili and find my balance between comfort, fatigue and equipment. Without a stove, mattress or music, I had to improvise with my two under layers and even use a bottle to warm up, Mike Horn style 😂 As for food, I rediscovered my love for cod liver 🐟
I’m yawning from fatigue in the 11am start procedure, not the best atmosphere to start with. Especially since they are announcing sporty conditions. With Lili for the moment, we prefer isolated starts. The confidence on the departures will go up at the same time as the sponsoring budget of breakage matos💲
In the late afternoon, the trouble started. The wind increased to over 30 knots and the waves were reaching 3m. Lili is hurdling (not just 110m) with hurdles half her size taille🏃♀️
I had to reduce the sail, but I had problems with my jib trim due to a faulty tack. It was annoying, because I had to sail quickly to reach the Ras de Sein before the current change. Without being able to set my jib correctly, I knew that the top 10 might already be out of reach 😔
Next, I noticed problems with my lower forestay. Making tacking more complicated. The technical worries continued. Consequence of the lack of training on Lili.
My reefing line was loose too, a little trick to stand on the boom to pass the line back into the mainsail ring. The daggerboards did not go all the way down in the pits, but that seemed almost anecdotal compared to the other problems.
My pilot was globally joking with me the whole time. He’s giving me surprise tacks. Putting my keel back the right way, readjusting the positioning of the bags and sails on board, it’s only funny once or twice. But this pilot likes the comical repetition. It’s up to me to fine-tune his settings to make it less funny.
Right from the start, I heard the first abandonments on the VHF. I haven’t known them all for a long time and yet it’s frustrating to know your fellow racers are giving up. As I have just finished vomiting my seasickness, I hear more abandonments… I go to take the VHF and encourage someone who is not doing well and is about to abandon but my VHF is out of order, torn off, in the bottom of the boat. The shocks have taken their toll on the support and the wiring.
Beginning of the night, another figure of speech. I go to urinate outside, an overconfident beginner’s mistake: I position myself badly, don’t have time to zipper up my fly when a gust of wind puts Lili on her side. My hand slips from the brace where I was hanging and I cross Lili’s back deck from top to bottom. My knee hits the GV turret, tearing my overalls. The turret is fine. But I find myself like a lame duck taking on water. I realize that you spend your time kneeling on a Mini and that the scow bow is not so qeffective against the spray ☔
I go to sleep a little, the alarm clock is already not working. I also realize that the AIS alarm that should sound when a boat is close is not working. They will be serene the 20min naps. On the other hand, how good is cod liver before the nap! 😋
I admit to going into economy mode after all this. I reduce the number of maneuvers, knowing my father crazy in front of the cartography. The road is long, the first day is not even over that about half of the competitors give up. I don’t know anything about it, having only heard the first withdrawals, so I think I’m among the last. At the time I was ashamed of my preparation and the things that broke. I am ashamed of my stupid fall.
I am still very enthusiastic about the idea of making this return downwind, which looks like being a royal one.
The next day, I arrive on this famous downwind, relaxed, ready to finally glide fast on the waves.
And there the pilot makes me jokes again. When I send my spinnaker, the pilot makes me a surprise gybe too. I even see a double bubble! A triple bubble in my spinnaker! Something I thought was physically impossible. I take all the precautions to send it back clean.
Ok it’s good spi in the air, finally! Steering at full speed in the surf, the fun is back.
After a while, I feel like a cod liver. I put the pilot to go eat, no time to reach the box: departure to the heap. The spinnaker rolled up in the forestay and the jib. It’s not even bad jokes anymore at this level. I go to undo it, restart the boat, put the pilot back and vlang! Maybe 3 times in a row. I didn’t manage to go and eat… It’s starting to piss me off. This is the time when I should be enjoying myself, not struggling like this.
I’m steering pissed off. Lili accelerates, I am rarely below 15 knots, peaking at 16 knots, finally a little peace and quiet I tell myself… However, impossible to go and eat this cod liver! I get knocked down after two waves under pilot and don’t want to slow down. After thinking about it, I realize that I waste more time not wanting to slow down than to wait to find better settings.
I finally find a correct pilot setting, I take the opportunity to eat and dry my stuff. I come back boosted and increase my average speed staying between 15 and 17nds in peak.
And without warning, without a sound, the old medium spinnaker from 2010 tears off… Bad luck with these spinnakers!
I set the spinnaker max, it’s limited when the wind is 20-25 knots but at the helm it does it well. I said, at the helm!
Sunset, I have to get dressed for the night. My stuff must be dry, I can’t wait to get warm.
I let go of the helm slowly, not at all serene, I move forward a little at the winch to shock the spinnaker and slow down Lili. Lili won’t do anything about it and will leave on a big surf. The pilot shoots a lot… A lot… Too much! Chinese gybe! My first one of this violence.
The mainsail passes on my side in one go, I take the halberd on my shoulder/neck/cheek, hard enough to be shaken a bit but not enough to be ejected. Luckily the bash stopped him in his tracks. Lili lies down like I’ve never seen her! I have my body in the water in the lee lines. I see my socks flying in the water, my gennaker dragging behind and not far from going into the water. I pull it up, grab my cap and my soaked underwear. I have water up to the winch, the windvane is close to the water! Quickly, we have to put the boat back upright.
And you look pretty smart standing on your boat in a real situation of a 90 degrees gauge test, winching to the wind, perched, arms stretched to the sky to tilt your keel.
I came out of it soaked but also a bit stunned. I tell myself that if I continue, it will end badly. I have nothing to play on the performance, save your spinnaker, do not damage Lili and delay. I set my gennaker, adjust the boat in a slow way and fall asleep in the boat. I think I am sleeping 2-3 hours deeply at this moment. This side that was supposed to be the highway of fun becomes my bumpy road. Too much wind to risk putting the spinnaker up again, I have a lousy descent. I can only raise the spinnaker towards the end when the wind drops.
When the wind drops, I have to go back up by the bridge of the Ile de Ré. Do you think it’s over ? I take 2 traps in 15min before the bridge… I manage to do some reverse and 360.
I pass the bridge around 3am. I now have to avoid a forbidden area of fishing traps and pass to the south of it. This is the only zone I did not check in the navigation, I feel very bad about it. I think I’m south of the zone, in reality I enter it. I find myself in the buoys, stuck. All in all, I got my money’s worth.
The fishermen who work at night with the tide have to get me out of there so that I can work where I am. I ask if possible to wait for daybreak to get out alone thinking I will be disqualified if they tow me. I negotiate to be put back where I came from. I leave from there thinking I am out of the race. “All that for this?” Disgusted… In the end I will only get a time penalty, phew!
I go back up quietly to the finish. Another small squall at 30-35nds without warning just to tell you that you’ll always be a little thing and that you’ll be soaked again tonight. I called it a big squall.
I arrive in the morning, the good surprise: my mother, the brothers and Willy on a zod to welcome me in the channel with the music “la pêche au moule” on the zod 😂
I ask if I’m not last and see the pontoons almost empty… I’m surprised at the number of dropouts and especially to be in the top 10. Not proud of my race but I finished.