No Middle Sea Race in 2018 :-(

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan..

We’ve been planning to do the Rolex Middle Sea Race för a year. I went to Valetta in October last year to understand the local logistics, and we booked a transport with Sevenstar from Kiel to Valetta in November, and sign all papers early in June. And we’ve done everything else to be as prepared as possible.

On August 29 I get bad vibes when Sevenstar wants to ship the boat to Genoa instead of Valetta – which is a 600 nm transport in the Med. And choosing sevenstar was based on getting the boat race-ready in Valetta harbour.

On September 5th, a week before our scheduled loading, I get the this:

We are very sorry to inform you and must apologise profusely but despite our very best efforts to secure enough interest in this voyage today we confirm that we will not load Kiel. Finally we did not receive enough inducement to call Malta. Therefore this voyage would be Ijmuiden / Genoa only I am afraid.

In light of this of course we would release you from the contract and make a full refund for the deposit which you have already paid in the amount of €2,062.50 EUR. Please advise your bank details and we will ensure your funds are returned immediately to you.

Shit.

But one problem seldom comes alone…

When doing sail tests last week, we found that the mast track was loose just below the second spreader. It’s an aluminium track glued to the carbon mast, and it’s not uncommon that these things happen?

After taking the mast down and making calls to Hall Spars, riggers and boatbuilders, we decided that the whole track needed to come off and be re-glued. Not a simple job done outside. The best option at the time was to step the mast again and get the boat to Mittelmans Werft in Kappeln, Germany, and try to fiogure out alternative transports along the way.

One option would be Peters & May from Bremerhafen, loading after September 15. But that suddenly moved to Malmö and September 7. So no chance to make it with the mast down. Also, a repair in Valetta would be sketchy, since all the boatbuilders was tied up with boats getting ready for the race.

We got on our way to Kiel with J3.5 and a trysail (to not affect the broken track). When we got to Grenå in Denmark (80+ of 220 nm to Kappeln) the weather deteriorated quickly to 20-28 knots from SSW (the same direction we needed to go). At the same time the list of possible (and affordable) transport option became shorter and shorter. Getting the boat to southern France is ok, but to get it to southern Italy really drives the price up. Plus there’s always the risks involved with lifting the boat and mast.

So we took the hard decision to call it quits.

The team is known for grit and always meeting all challenges head on.

But the combination of the cancelled transport and the mast damage just became to much to handle under a tight schedule.

We’ll have a debrief soon and lay out out plans for 2019. One possible alternative is to take the boat from Gothenburg to Nice/Antibes in May and start out with the Rolex Giraglia Cup.

Going back yesterday, we had a pleasant downwind in 28-36 knot. Top speed was +18 knots with trysail and Code 1. Then we went to the heavy weather jib instead:

14 Comments

  1. Joachim Keim Sep 9, 2018 Reply

    Synd att det inte gick i lås efter all planering.

  2. Mikael Ellsinger Sep 9, 2018 Reply

    Satan vad tråkigt! Så mycket tid och energi ni måste ha lagt på detta. Läge för en kickstarterkampanj!?

  3. Sillstryparn Sep 9, 2018 Reply

    Otroligt trist: Lider med hela teamet och ffa med dig som lagt så mycket tid och pengar på detta.
    Ibland är det verkligen koppsnurr hela rundan.
    Om 40 år kommer du förhoppningsvis se tillbaka på detta och skratta….
    Bara kavla upp ärmarna och ta nya tag!

  4. Anders B Sep 9, 2018 Reply

    Surt! Jag har limmat fast Al-skena på kolmast några gånger. Om du nu vill ha hjälp 🤔

  5. Johan Tuvstedt Sep 10, 2018 Reply

    Trist, frustrerande när saker bara glider ur händerna..

  6. Tom Whitmore Sep 10, 2018 Reply

    Very sorry to hear about this, but unfortunately not surprised. I have spent a lot of time looking into and planning shipping the past years and my conclusion is that there is always a risk for late or non-delivery. The contracts basically have no form of assurance of the shipping dates, departure or arrival. On the way to the US (Baltimore) from Holland last year the departure with Seven Star was delayed by more than 2 weeks and then the route changed including an extra loading stop in the UK adding one more weeks delay. Our schedule looked to be ruined. Fortunately some of the boats loaded in the UK had Newport (our final destination) as their preferred destination and we made up most of the delay my not having to sail the extra 500 miles.

    On the return shipping Newport to Barcelona with another shipping agent things were only slightly delayed until a transfer of ships in Germany was not permitted by the German authorities due to unsatisfactory loading on the roll-on trailer in by the US loadmasters. The worst part is that we really not even informed of the delay until a few days prior to the expected arrival. This possibly cost us the sale of the boat to a new owner for the 2018 season.

    It would seem there is strength in numbers. I have had better luck in the past when several boats attend the same regatta shipped together, but even in these cases there can be unforeseen outcomes. When shipping Six Meters from Europe to the US in 2009, the ship arrived on time but our boats fastened in customs on a random check. As best I could understand it they wanted to x-ray the entire boat but didn’t have the equipment needed. The result a two week delay and missing the first start by a few hours. Other boats on the same ship were not allowed to unload and some traveled around the US coast on the ship until the issues could be solved. Finally some of them unload 2500 km from the intended port and had to be trucked to the event.

    Please share any experiences you have with shipping and ideally how to arrange for guaranteed arrivals – if possible. In the meantime it seems the only good solutions are to have enormous time margins or sail on your own keel. That said, out next shipment will be by land from Finland to Spain with a very good margin of time. I’ll let you know how that works out in the spring.

    • Author
      Peter Gustafsson Sep 10, 2018 Reply

      Vi har tidigare diskuterat vad vi har för målsättning med olika race, och just Middle Sea race tror vi är ett race som passar J/111 väldigt bra. DSessutom så är det en båt som vi vet att vi kan kräma ut 100% ur. Så förstahandsvalet är fortfarande att köra med J/111:an, fast kanske nästa år i stället.

      vår bucket list finns ett antal andra race, där J/111 passar mindre bra eller där logistiken sätter stopp. Då skall vi titta lite mer noggrant på olika charter-alternativ.

  7. JL Sep 10, 2018 Reply

    Om ni lagt 20.000 i deposit, undrar jag vad totalkostnad skulle bli.
    Hur bred är båten?
    Är inte en trailer på landsväg möjligt?

    • Author
      Peter Gustafsson Sep 10, 2018 Reply

      En J/111 är 3.29 bred, så kräver ordentlig lastbil + följebil. Vi tog ju den från Trinite sur Mer till Kiel när den var ny, och jag har massa bra offerter från Göteborg/Kiel till Antibes och andra orter vid Medelhavet.

      Att ta den på bil till södra Italien (Neapel) skulle kosta 130 kkr + moms. Och då måste vi ändå segla 360 nm innan vi är på Malta…

      3D6B0630.jpg

      • Lars L Sep 11, 2018 Reply

        Att köra specialtransporter genom Italien verkar vara extra dyrt. För några år sedan tog jag in offerter på transport av 47-fotare från Medelhavet till Holland. Kostade 25 k€ om lastning i Italien och ”bara” 10 k€ om lastning i Frankrike med samma bolag. Ungefär samma körsträcka.
        Nu tog säljaren ansvar för transport och sjösättning i Holland och han valde att segla till Frankrike.

  8. JL Sep 10, 2018 Reply

    Ahh points taken…. anlita ett gäng glada amatörer för transportsegling är förstås inte heller så tilltalande, men skrik till så lär folk stå på kö för att hänga med.

    • Author
      Peter Gustafsson Sep 10, 2018 Reply

      Med lite mer tid så kan man nog hitta bra/kul besättning.

      Men jag har sett allt för många båtar som måste på varv efter en transport med alltför tajt tidsplan. Sedan är det alltid en risk när båtar skall lastas/lossas och master skall ner/upp.

  9. JL Sep 10, 2018 Reply

    Din klokhet är nyckeln till framtids framgång.
    Ingen mening att bryta ihop, bättre att bara komma igen!

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