I waited a year to do this race, as we were supposed to go last year but Bandna was not able to do it. We worked hard getting the boat ready, and after the ordeal with the Key West race and the swing bridge back in January, I made some calls to be sure we would not have that problem again. I also made a trip to Blue Water to be sure we had the right charts on board along with my Nobeltec charts. I had never seen them simply download the chart from the NOAA site and print it on the spot! Nice...they don't need to keep all that inventory and they still charge about $27 for the chart!
So, Wednesday, April 31 we headed down river and out to the start line in very light air and very high hopes for a good event. My Dad took a picure from the 29th floor of the boats waiting to start, and a pic of the computer with the tracking page open:
On Bandana were Skippy, Frank, Bob, Sam, Charlie, Mike and me. We were set into 2 watch teams.. "A" with me and Bob and Charlie, and "B" with Skip, Sam and Mike. Frank as navigator is not on a team. The watches were set to be 4 hrs at night and 6 hrs during the day. 6am to noon, noon to 6pm, then 6-10pm, 10pm -2am, and 2am to 6am. We would all take turns driving and trimming on each watch team.
We were barely getting 4kts VMG by 3pm and the wind began to die even more by 6pm. By 9:30 the jib was rolled up and a half hour later, the main was flopping around so much, that we dropped that as well. Lucky we were out in the Stream so we could drift in the right direction at about 2kts or we'd have been sitting still. At 2am, we rolled out a small triangle of jib and strapped it in tight to try to keep the boat a bit more steady. It seemed to help a bit.
At 5am Thursday, a bit of breeze came in and the sails went back up. The wind clocked a little and we hardened up to try to catch the axis of the stream, and by noon we tacked to try to stay in it. We 'ghosted' along all day playing the shifty light air and the axis of the stream, trying to keep the boat moving. The frustration was not knowing if anyone else was still racing or if everyone else had quit. Too bad we have no internet at sea! We had a couple of hitch-hikers over night. Poor little things looked cold and tired!
By 6pm, the wind quit completely again and we rolled up the jib past the shrouds and strapped the boom tight, to stop any flogging around. Frank did the calculations and we decided by 9:30, we could no longer make the time limit, even if the wind came back so we gave up and abandoned the race.
As you can see by the plotter, we were now doing 6.3kts over ground (engine on) and headed to New Smyrna.
We got a slip at a lovely spot, called the RiverView Hotel and Spa and spent 2 nights there. Below are some pix from our wanderings around town and supporting the local bars and restaurants:
Sunday morning we headed out of New Smyrna bound for Cape Canaveral. We picked up another hitchhiker but at least this one was willing to take the helm for a while!
We went into Cape Marina for Friday night and got up at 5am and left the dock at 5:30 to get offshore to watch the 6:21am Launch of Discovery mission STS-131.
The view was SPECTACULAR. Too bad photos don't quite capture it but here are the pix anyway:
April 5, 2010 Shuttle Discovery, Mission STS-131
Space shuttle Discovery and a crew of seven astronauts are headed to space, beginning a 13-day mission to the International Space Station. Discovery's two solid rocket boosters ignited right on schedule at 6:21 a.m. EDT, sending the shuttle soaring past the launch tower at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This shot was taken as the sun came up and it lit up the contrails of the Shuttle like a Dolphin head!
Below is the track from the race. Bandana was the last boat to abandon and we were leading the fleet at the time. The bold orange was us, and the purple were the IRC boats. The lighter orange lines were the rest of the boats in our class.
All in all, we had a great time but not being able to finish the race was indeed a frustrating heartbreak. The Shuttle launch was indeed a consolation prize and I'm glad we were there for it!
The event website is here: http://www.fortlauderdalecharlestonrace.org/