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.
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: