Pornichet Select 2014 – Part 1/2

Bildschirmfoto 2014-04-15 um 23.26.12It’s almost two weeks now since I finished the Pornichet Select 6.50 2014 – my first race of the year.

The week before the race was pretty relaxed so I reserved the entire friday (day before the start) to prepare my navigation and to compile a roadbook with all the relevant information about the course.
Early start on saturday then with a final briefing and weather report, handing in the mobile phone and we were already being towed out of the marina.
I spent the two hours before the start of the race with calibrating the apparent wind angle, preparing the big spinnaker and eating something. We also had to change the satellite tracker on my boat as the previous one was not working.

10 minutes before the start the wind died down completely and with a bit of delay we were sent off in a downwind start. I was starting in the first line and while sailing the course along the beach I was in the top 10.

After leaving the bay of Pornichet (La Baule) we started tacking our way up the coast to west when my autopilot started behaving a bit weird tacking by itself. It turned out that my boatspeed sensor was broken and was delivering more or less random values between -12 and +20 knots of boatspeed. When the values were negative the pilot tried to be smart and turn the rudder the other way around which didn’t really help.

After a couple of hours of rock-hopping along the coast we now had to head offshore towards Belle Île and I decided to go neither with the first group nor the second group but to go on my own which didn’t pay.
In the channel between Île de Quiberon and Belle Île I didn’t do too well then. I was on the wrong side of the clocking wind and while trying to fix my pilot lost quite a bit of places.

After rounding the Birvideaux lighthouse north of Belle Île we made our way south.
Since the wind was coming right from behind we gybed our way into the night, me steering by hand all the time getting tired and hungry.

Sonntag früh auf dem Weg zur Ile d'YeuAt about 2:30 am on sunday the wind angle was getting too hot for the big spinnaker and I had to change to the Code 5.
Dousing the big kite in increasing winds is not much fun but without a proper pilot this was becoming pretty annoying.

For the n-th time I went through all the configuration settings of my NKE system and finally found the option to switch the pilot to use the speed reported by the GPS instead of the boat speed sensor. That didn’t fix the pilot altogether but at least I now had a pilot that was steering fairly well going upwind and reaching.

The sail change and electronics had cost me 2 miles on the boats ahead of me but now I finally had the right sail up and was going in the right direction with about 6 knots. “Could be worse…” I thought and took a couple of naps to get the spirits back up…

to be continued…

Pornichet Select 6.50 2014: start today at 1pm

Pornichet Select PosterAfter three busy days of preparations we finally start today.
Ahead are 300nm of relatively light winds with some nice reaching in the mix.

Before heading out to sea we will sail along the beach of Pornichet and considering the amount of posters that you find all around town I assume we’ll have some audience.

If you want to follow the race you can do that here:

I’m number 732.

new gear: fuelcell

IMG_0143Voilà! My brand new fuel cell! The probably single most expensive piece of equipment which should hopefully resolve my power problems (see e.g. MAP 2012) for good.
The fuelcell itself, a Efoy 140 Comfort (which by the way was not provided but I paid for myself), is installed in the “tunnel” under the companionway. A good spot where it’s protected from water and not in the way.
It’s connected to the batteries and monitors their voltage constantly. If the voltage dropy below 12.3V it automatically turns itself on and begins charging the batteries with about 11Amps.
Once the batteries are back up to 13V it automatically turns itself off again.

Should the fuelcell ever fail I still have my solar panel at the transom as a backup on board.

Delivery for the season’s first race

IMG_0136Having spent two days in Paris for business I finally made my way to Lorient on thursday night. Although I had to work on friday I still managed to pick up the new Code 0 from Incidences and the remote for the autopilot from nke.

Friday after work things started to get busy for me as I had to get the boat ready to deliver it to Pornichet this weekend.

Between me and my departure were a couple of todos (copied from my todo list):
– fit & install new rudders
– inspect and install rudder / tillers
– remove old stickers from boat, apply new ones
– wash the deck
– drill and prepare spare “V” for the bowsprit
– sew new markings into the main halyard for the different reefs
– attach reflective stickers to the liferaft
– install liferaft
– put the boat into the water
– install nke windvane at top of mast
– check rigg / tighten screws at the spreaders
– change bungee cord for the backstays
– install boom & all lines
– attach main sail

All of this was finally done on saturday night around 7pm which was the first time I checked the weather forecast for my delivery. For that night there were 5 to 15kt from S to SW forecasted, on sunday it would be the same direction albeit 20-25kt.
I wasn’t looking forward to a windy first delivery so I decided to spontaneously leave rightaway while there was still a bit of light left.
After a quick bite I was already short-tacking my way out of Lorient and heading into the night.

Once out of the bay of Lorient I was able to just lay Île de Quiberon and took some naps.
Île de Quiberon appeared to me only as an orange haze as it was extremely misty with poor visibility of about 1/2nm.
Around me the boats that were sailing the “Lorient Bretagne Sud Mini” race appeared – they had already rounded Belle Île and Île de Groix and were now on the way to Pornichet as well.
Now we were able to bear away a bit after every island we passed and it became a nice reach.
I did not hoist my code 0 and stayed outside the field to not mess with the guys in the race.
IMG_0139When we finally rounded the cardinal buoy “Goue vas du Four” and headed into the bay of pornichet I hoisted the medium kite (reefed, again not to interfere with the race) and we trucked along nicely with 7-8 knots, being able to stick to the boats that were racing.

In the morning haze I finally arrived in Pornichet causing a bit of confusion as the committee assumed I had finished the race in 18th place (ooops – although I announced that I was on “convoyage”) and was finally moored in the marina at abou6 6:30am.
That’s a 6kt average – not bad.

Now a week in Pornichet with race prep / security checks and working before the first race of the season begins on saturday: the Pornichet Select 6.50