Logbook Sept 25th 2015

Track 25.09.2015
Following my Mini Transat participation in 2015 I am now publishing the logbook entries of each day – exactly one year after they were written down.

Day 7 of Leg 1, Sept 25th, 2015:

In the night we left Portugal behind us and are now heading straight to the Canary Islands.
It is interesting for me to read the logbook as I wrote quite a bit. In my memory all those events were spanning several days but looking at this it seems like a lot happened this one day.
I still remember the night because I had gone below deck for some short naps and when I returned back on deck at 11pm it was so warm that I had to lose my foulies: Finally proper Tradewind sailing!

Later I would learn how much the wind strength these days varied depending on whether you were further west or east. This time, the further west one was, the more stable winds there were. That reminds me that I need to ask some weather guru on why that was the case. Even today, looking at the weather chart I don’t get what was going on that day:

So, a day filled with weather observations but a simple sail choice: Big spinnaker. Not much else happening. Or so I thought…


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
WNW 11-14 1-2m 7/8 Cn 1018.8 N37°21.8 / W011°27.2 Groß + Solent + Big Spi 199 n/a

Comments from the logbook:
Sitting on Deck at 11pm in a longsleeve, constantly surfing down waves and leaving a white trail in the Atlantic: incredible!


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
WNW 10-12 2.5m 8/8 ? 1018.0 N37°00.0 / W011°32.2 Groß + Solent + Big Spi 189 8.6kn

Comments from the logbook:


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NNW 10-12 1.5m 8/8 Sc 1018.0 N36°36.5 / W011°41.0 Groß + Solent + Big Spi 199 7.1kn

Comments from the logbook:
0400: Jaanus (787) called me on the VFH, sees me on the AIS. I don’t see him. He’s doing alright, says he’s sailing with the Code5 (?). We exchange positions, he’s at: N37°15.0/W11°19.6
0830: Wind dropping, barometer rising (already at 1018.6): I gybed. Now doing 140 over ground. Pretty bad but better than nothing. I wonder if this move is a massive mistake…
No VHF/AIS contact to anybody. Jaanus is probably far ahead with his proto but where are all the others?
If I do worse in today’s ranking then I bet most of the crowd is west of me.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
N 8 1.5m 8/8 Cn 1019.6(!) n/a Groß + Solent + Big Spi n/a n/a

Comments from the logbook:
1030: Barometer still rising, Wind dropping further and turning NW it seems. Are we sailing into a high pressure ridge?
1040: Ranking shows us 27th (was 29th before). Victor overtook me though. Seems like a bit East-West-Split of the fleet. Leaders are 200nm ahead, Edouard is 160nm ahead. Amazing. Go Ed!!!
1400: very fickle winds, 4kn at times, and still some swell. Steering by hand to make the best of it. Spinsheet-Outriggers are deployed and they make a big difference: the spi is a lot more stable. Dropped the Jib.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NNE 10-12 2.5m 8/8 Sc/Cn 1017.6 N35°48.3 / W011°56.0 Groß + Big Spi 203 7.2kn

Comments from the logbook:
Wind! Barometer dropping, Wind turning E.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NNE 6-8 2m 8/8 Sc/Cn 1017.7 N35°29.4 / W012°06.4 Groß + Big Spi 199 8.0kn

Comments from the logbook:
1800: a black wall of clouds moves in from starboard – wondering what that brings… – Update: nothing 🙂
2000: new M10 cartridge in the fuel cell
2100: Cloud coverage disappears suddenly, Wind drops and turns. What is going on? Sailing into the High? Gybing!


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
Nw 8-10 1-5m 4/8 ? 1018.3 N35°08.8 / W012°12.3 Groß + Big Spi 134 6.0kn

Comments from the logbook:
2130: Wind turning back, course over ground is crap!!!
2200: While I was below deck the shackle of the tackline opened, the pilot tried to handle the changing pressure and so the big spinnaker got properly wrapped around the forestay. Worst thing: it wrapped sometimes around jib halyard and forestay, sometimes managed to get in between.
Trying for 30 minutes to sort things out, balancing on the pullpit. At sunset I decide to climb the mast to solve this. The moment I arrive at the top the battery of my head torch runs out. There I am, at the top of the mast, laughing hysterically. It’s a good thing nobody can see me in this absurd situation. Luckily the reflections of the masttop-light are enought for me to detach the sail from the halyard, untangle it and drop it without breaking it.
Am back on deck after about 1 hour, hoisting the Medium spi unreefed.
2300: Wind increasing in gusts, putting a reef in the main, hoisted the solent.

24 distance: 176nm

Logbook Sept 24th, 2015

Tracker 24.09.2015
Following my Mini Transat participation in 2015 I am now publishing the logbook entries of each day – exactly one year after they were written down.

Day 6 of Leg 1, Sept 24th, 2015:

We are sailing off the coast of Portugal, passing Lisboa. The previous day had brought a lot of wind and difficult conditions which made me neglect eating and resting. As a result I have been sleeping a lot last night and the performance of the boat suffers.
As you can see from the logbook entries, it would have been possible to hoist the Code5 at midnight again and generally I am sailing very defensive the entire day.
The Adrena track shows large parts in yellow where I sailed the boat far under its potential. That also showed in the ranking as Victor (599) turns my 14nm lead into a 14nm lead for him over the course of the day.

But nevertheless it is a nice day in stabilizing tradewinds, offering greate sailing conditions.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
N 16-20 2.5m 0/8 clear skies 1017.2 N39°56.5 / W010°03.5 Main(–) + Solent(-) 212 6.5kn

Comments from the Logbook:
0400: Shook out a reef, now: Main(-) and Solent(-)
0430: Hoisted the Code 5.
0650: Hoisted the Medium Spi (reefed) and shook out the reef in the Solent. Now: Main(-) + Solent + Medium Spi(-)


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
N 14 3m 8/8 Sc/Cn 1018.1 N39°18.0 / W010°33.2 Groß(-) + Solent + Med. Spi(-) 200 9.7kn

Comments from the Logbook:
1000: Switched to Big Spinnaker, still one reef in the main.
1030: Listened to Weather forecaset. Should have 12-20kn from NNE to NE. Sounds like proper azores high. Ranking 29th series.
1100: new waypoint: Lanzarote Approach!
1530: Gybed to stb-bow but the angle is bad also waves are coming in at a bad angle.
1600: Gybed back.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NNE 14 2-3m 7/8 Cn 1018.4 N38°14.2 / W011°00.5 Groß(-) + Solent + Big Spi 198 7.1kn

Comments from the Logbook:
1800: shook out reef in the main
1900: the tackline is slipping through its clutch again. Switched with the spi hoisted by taking the load off using the karver cleat (amazing thing!) and switched it with the babystay clutch. Need to switch the interior in Lanzarote.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NNE 14 2-3m 8/8 Ns 1018.8 N37°50.2 / W011°16.7 Groß + Solent + Big Spi 196 7.5kn

Comments from the Logbook:
2000: Jaanus (787) heard me trying to reach a support boat to report my position, we chat for a while how much more relaxed the sailing is today. I ask a nearby cargo if he could try and relay our positions to a support but, the cargo tries for 10 minutes but to no avail.

24h distance: 177sm

Logbook Sept 23rd 2015

Tracker 23.09.2015
Following my Mini Transat participation in 2015 I am now publishing the logbook entries of each day – exactly one year after they were written down.

Day 5 of Leg 1, Sept 23rd 2015:

Last night we passed the northwestern tip of spain and are now on the way to the canary islands. There is one final TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) lying west of the portuguese coast which is a forbidden zone for us in the race, other than that there are no other course marks before the finish.
During our weather briefings, our weather router Christian often emphasized how important the northern half of the portuguese coast is as there is a low-wind zone to navigate, as well as a large zone where a wind acceleration can be found.
This is especially true in a situation like ours with a well established acores high to our west whose southerly winds are being accelerated off the coast of the iberian peninsula (see map below. Note: ground pressure are the white isobars!)

This is a bit of weather knowledge that should become very important over the course of the day but unhappily the converse argument (the farther from the coast, the less wind you get) would not come to me while at sea.
You can tell by the little amount of log book entries that I hardly spent time below deck and hardly left the tiller alone.

Looking back today, I should not have gybed back towards the coast after taking down the Code5. This would have lead me away from the coast and reduced the wind, which would have allowed me to hoist the spinnaker again.
Instead I gybed again at 9pm, again 15 miles closer to the shore so it would take me more hours until I would eventually hoist a spinnaker again in the morning. Unhappily I was so tired that I kind of lost my racing mode which cost me a lot of miles.
Dimitri told me that some 20 miles further offshore the winds were little enough to keep the medium kite up at all times.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
N 10kt 1m 8/8 Sc 1021.0 N42°45.5 / W009°49.5 Main + Big Spi 209 8.8kt

Comments from the logbook:
0430: Wind is increasing heavily in short period of time, steering by hand. A massive swell is building.
0600: Cannot reach neither any support boat nor any competitor to relay my position.
0700: Dropped the bit kite and hoisted the medium spi.
1000: Major wipeout with the medium spi, the tackline clutch gives way and multiple meters rush out. Unhappily I was just preparing the drop and held the tackline in my hand, which causes my hand to be caught in a sling against the clutch. Takes me two minutes to sort out without having to cut the line. Dropping the sail then and hoisting the Code5.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NNW 15 (22)kn 3.5m 1/8 Cr/Ns 1019.3 N41°29.0 / W009°36.4 Groß(–) + Code5 164 8.5kn

Comments from the logbook:
1200: started the recording of the weather forecast (good signal), need to go back on deck.
1830: Dropped the Code5. Constantly more than 30kt of wind. I’m tired and feel like the boat is going to fall apart. All(!!!) waves are breaking, we are surfing down the back of the waves with 14-18kt and then dive into the front of the next one. Wave crests are steep and very confuse, the pilot is not coping. Just did a nosedive up to the mast – bowsprit, foredeck, everything under water. Didn’t think the boat would be able to handle that abuse. Gybing is hard work, am worried about the mast.
Plenty of cargos around, they seem like steel cities and do not seem to be bothered at all by the waves.
Spoke multiple times with Jaanus (787) over VHF, he has more than 30kt too, could not understand his position.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NW 23 (34)kn 4m 4/8 Cn 1018.0 N40°28.9 / W009°58.9 Groß(–) + Solent(-) 154 8.1kn

Comments from the logbook:
Running downwind with just reefed main and solent now, still doing 8-9 knots, am absolutely shot. Will try to get some sleep, let’s hope the night doesn’t get worse.

24h distance: 186sm

Logbook Sept 22nd 2015

Following my Mini Transat participation in 2015 I am now publishing the logbook entries of each day – exactly one year after they were written down.

Day 4 of Leg 1, Sept 22nd 2015:

We are about to leave the Bay of Biscay and are heading towards the north-western tip of the Iberian Peninsula, the Cap Finisterre.
I remember this day vividly because I don’t think I ever did as many sail changes in one day as on this one.
From a racing perspective the day was interesting because after a day without seeing competitors, the closer we came to land now, the more competitors became visible.
While the coast looked really interesting and I told myself back then that I would come back one day to discover it with more time, I am happy that I was not forced to sail into port like some of my competitors who had to do repairs or eventually retire from the race.

Now, while reading the log book again I notice that at 4am I note that a cold front hit us and the wind and pressure both indicate that. But I had always thought the second front had hit us the day before… Oh well, maybe it was three cold fronts in the end or I just misread the weather, who knows.
In any case, this and the following day should become the trickiest in the first leg as the spanish and portugese coast seemed to want to do their bad reputation for strong winds and high seas justice.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NW 15kn 2m 7/8 Sc 1016.6 N44°52.0 / W007°57.8 Groß + Solent 225 5.6kn

Comments from the log book:
0000: the wind is very gusty under the clouds. No AIS targets at all – does this thing work!?!?
0100: 1st reef in the main. Had a major fuckup with the winches: Renegade on the stb-winch. Trying to resolve it: Renegade on the main winch too! Well, that was 20 minutes I could spent doing something more fun. All solved now though.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
W 17-20kn 2m 8/8 ? 1016.1 N44°35.4 / W008°15.1 Groß(-) + Solent 206 6.6kn

Comments from the log book:
0300: Autopilot just crash-tacked – am now driving in AWA Mode.
0400: wind very gusty now, up to 30 kn from SW. Current sails: Main(–, i.e. 2 reefs) + Solent (-, i.e. 1 reef). Looks like another front coming through.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
NW 22kn 2.5m 7/8 ? 1016.3 N44°38.7 / W008°29.3 Groß(-) + Solent 225 6.7kn

A little video from the early hours after the rough night and before the rough day had started 🙂

Comments from the log book:
1400: just passed a mini with only reefed main and reefed Solent sailing dead east towards the coast. Nobody on deck. Tried calling on vhf but no reply. Could not read sail number due to the sun, looked like a proto.
1750: no log book entries since this morning, really: too much to do! The night was rough – had to hand-steer pretty much all the time or sail with too little sails as the gusts were so brutal. Add to that an impressive 3m swell rolling in from the west.
Started shaking out reefs after 8 am, then with the shifting wind was able to hoist the Code5, then wind shifted back: Main + Solent. Gusts and showers required some reefs, then almost no wind. Then Code0+ full Main, then Rainstorm and 30 knots: 2 reefs in the main, 1 in the solent. After 10 minutes, back to original wind, Code0 and Main, 40 minutes later the whole ordeal again, and then again. Now since about 5pm: full main and big spi and we seem to have too little sails up, the waves are rough.
Just heard Nikki and Andy on the radio but the only word I understood was “Code0”.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
N 5kn 3m 7/8 ? 1019.4 N43°19.2 / W009°28.6 Groß + Big Spi 218 5.7kn

Comments from the log book:
1800: Bungee cords on tbe bowsprit are broken (already!?), bowsprit shows tendencies to drop. Cut off the bungee from the backstays and used them to repair the ones at the bowsprit. Now I am soaking wet (should have worn the drysuit) but the bowsprit looks ok again.
Vincent just passed 200m ahead of me, sailing with the Code0 towards Spain. Jumped on deck quickly after and started changing sails, now seems to head my direction too.
1900: Wohoo, we changed our waypoint. Now aiming for the E-side of the TSS.


Wind Waves Clouds Pressure Position Sails COG SOG
N 10kn 2m 8/8 Sc 1020.4 N43°03.3 / W009°38.5 Groß + Big Spi 206 6.4kn

Comments from the log book:
The barometer seems to be having a good time these days…
2300: Ouch, while trying to sort out a dragging line, the spin-sheet hit me on the eye and forehad when the spi collapsed and then refilled. Trying to figure out whether I’m hurt using my photo camera. It’s swollen but I’m not dizzy, taking Ibuprofene, let’s see…
Victor is sailing higher than me behind me, doing one gybe after the other but catching up a lot. I should do that too but am sailing deep to get around the corner of the TSS without gybing again. Andrea Fornaro is behind me sailing the same course.
Am pretty tired but happy that soon Cap Finisterre is behind us.

Distance sailed in last 24h: 153sm