Yacht Delivery Atlantic
Rally Blog – by Rainer Holtorff, Skipper on Malisi, Outremer 64 light.
Today at 14:00 MET is the start of the rally. We are going to dash down to Mindelo/Cabo Verde with the trades.
About 50 boats are in the fleet of the ARC plus, starting in Las Palmas/ Gran Canaria. Everybody is eager to go, but still wondering: Do we really have everything? Do we need fuel at all? Were will the tomatoes survive, when we come down to the tropics? Once your gone, your gone!
Watch the rally on the live tracker:
Our Catamarans name is „Malisi“ with the starting number 21
So off we are, there was some exitement at the start line, but we found our gap and got right ahead of the fleet straight away, where we stay since, with a 2 mile distance to the next competitor. Well, we do have a handicap, but considering this, we are still doing well. The last thing I heard is that we are on fourth position in the overall ranking.
The sea turned blue by now, and we are sailing beautifully under spinnaker with up to 17 knots. Catch you all later, probably in about 4/5 days, when we are about to make a landfall in Mindelo!
In the first night after the ARC PLUS – Rally – start we were pushing our luck. The tradewinds increased by the Canary Islands blew with up to 29 knots. We were dashing down the Atlantic swell with no reef in the mainsail and under spinnaker, listening to all kinds of sounds which arose from the speed of our Outremer 64 Catamaran. When she was above 20 knots, a singing was rising, a humming choir. The sound is beautiful, but threatening at once. And, as we were operating in a watchplan, it is difficult to rest when the singing comes and goes. it stirs your attention, when it is getting louder. You feel awake all of a sudden, your body is getting ready to act, even if you tell yourself: „22 knots are not that much, I could even do it with my bicycle!“ You imagine yourself on nice summer day, cycling downhill with a summer breeze in your back. Why shouldn’t you make 40 km/h easily?
Shortly after I managed to fall asleep, Matt was knocking on my door. He calmly said:
„We have been called.“
„Is it urgent?“, I asked.:“Or do I have enough time to get dressed in peace?“
„I guess, it is urgent“, he said.
Outside was uproar. The spinnaker was twisted around the forestay. It was impossible to get it down and the
wind was getting stronger…
To be unable to get a sail down in higher winds, especially a spinnaker, is a nightmare. It means that you can’t stop speeding along. Imagine you are caught in a carriage pulled by ten horses, but the horses are mad and in panic, and you have no idea, when they will become tired or if your vehicle will fall apart before and you go astray.
I tried to stay calm, as I always intend on yachts, but really, it is difficult with a threat like that. The spinnaker had turned a few times around the upfurled genoa and looked like a gigantic hourglass. How the hell had it happened at all? And would it soon be torn to pieces, with these fluttering for days up there blocking our foresail? We were all standing on the foredeck of the catamaran pointing up the mast with torches. The yacht, steered by a processor, was running down the waves so fast that the whitewater was spraying up to us through the nets between the bows. It took us a few minutes to figure out a plan: We put a line around the lower part of the spinnaker and wrapped as much as we could, to prevent that the wind could catch into it. Than we turned the sail with 6 men around the forestay, until it eventually got free again. We could release the halyard and eventually got the sail down. After half an hour the situation was under control again. It was a miracle, that the sail was still intact. And that nobody was hurt and nothing was broken.
Morning came and we had only 50 Miles left to the African coast. It would have been a good oportunity for a stopover there, but we jibed and eventually had the Cape Verde Archipelago in front
of our bows again – even when it was still 700 Miles away.
We arrived in Mindelo more than 12 hours before anybody else.
Today Leg 2 of the ARC+ starts. With about 50 other yachts, we are going to cross the start line at about 13:00 local time with our fast catamaran Malisi, an Outremer 64 light. Besides we still have a spinnaker in the customs at the airport at less than two hours before the start in a downwindrace, I think that we are well equiped and in good technical condition. We do have a crew of eight. Three Austrians, two Russians and three Germans. I am pleased to say, that we do have a woman onboard now, which can make a difference for the conversational tone amongst the crew. We are expecting to be at sea about 12 days, if all goes well. As we are in a rally, we focus to win, still keeping in mind, that there is a vast space out there to get stuck if you are too fast. We do have 2100 nautical miles to go. The yacht is tearing at her lines like a horse which is eager to go. The tradewinds seem to be quiet strong, so there will be good waves to surf down. If the weight of the provisions will allow it. Watch us on the rallytracker, via worldcruise.com. We will be offline for 12 days, only reachable via satphone. Contact Simbal Plus AG, Switzerland
Malisi Boat LOG, 23th of November 2013
Here we are, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Almost half way between Mindelo and Saint Lucia. Ahead of the fleet with our catamaran Malisi, an Outremer 64 light. For me, she is really a beauty: While writing this I sit under Deck, just behind the emergency hatch. I watch the port hull, which is speeding along above deep blue water, producing white spray.
We are following the watchplan, steering or just observing the autopilot, correcting the course under spinnaker, cooking, cleaning, repairing, sunbathing. Measuring the height of the sun and calculating. Trying to avoid conflicts in our international team with different motivations.
Back in Mindelo, a lot of things happened on this boat: About one hours before the start, we still had our only spinnaker locked in by customs at the airport. When we managed to bring it onboard the other yachts were already gathering at the start line.
As if we hadn‘t had enough excitement: We got last minute guests, about a day before the start: Two russian sailing enthusiasts, who felt uncomfortable to go with another yacht. We had a cabin to give, and so they joined us. It is a risk, if you don`t know each other and just go, without the chance to step out anymore. In our case, we were lucky. They are kind and the fact, that there is a woman onboard now,has bettered the tone amongst us all.
Another thing with us is, that we had a change of captains almost in the same moment, when the Russians came onboard. Our designated captain until then, did not want to take responsibility for a passage with guests. So the commando was handed over to me all of a sudden. I really had not expected that and I felt unprepared so close before the departure.
Anyway , since then I try my best, cooperating with the former captain, who is still onboard and knows a lot more about fast catamarans and their tactics than I do. But when it comes to boat handling in general, there are always things you do differently than another person. As I am German, I guess everybody onboard, to a certain degree, has to respect my seamanship tradition now, when it comes to security, food and whatsoever.
Despite minor problems, everything is good on Malisi. And I have to finish now, because the spray turns orange, and there is little I know, which is more majestic than a sunset in a downwind course in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. You know you are far away from all the important ongoings on this planet, but you don`t care, because you are here.
I have to correct myself: There is a moment in the night, which is almost as beautiful as the afternoons with the sunset. When the moon comes up behind you in the east after long dark hours. All of the sudden you can see silver waves rolling towards you, an endless sea of light.
I hope you all out there have a safe trip! A big thank you to the shore crew of ARC+ Suzanna, Kearan and Paul. Great job! How could you stay so calm and polite in all that excitement before the start in Mindelo? Hey Kearan—did you go bodysurfing bodysurfing with her..?
Rainer Holtorff, Captain of Malisi
We had a fast atlantic crossing. We were on a rally, yes, but really – we have taken it more like a race. Under full sails, also in the nights, with squalls coming up from behind. The spinnaker had to be repaired a few times, but it fastly went up again. The Malisi, our 64 feet light weight catamaran from the Ateliers Outremer in La Rochelle/ France is an exceptional vehicle: If you have only a breeze she is smuggling herself over the sea. With more wind she becomes a runner. The hulls start to plane as if she is made to fly.
After weeks onboard, I am still fascinated, standing on the foredeck, between the nets, and The spray, whirled up from the hull sounds like a high speed drum. When I got some information about her, month before I sailed her for the first time, there was this rumor, that her owner was concerned about her weight: He seemed to have checked every item, which came onboard. And often things were taken away and replaced by lightweight material. To me this sounded like an obsession at first, but it makes sense now. Due to her lightness, we did not have to reef the mainsail on the whole Atlantic crossing. If we did not have the spinnaker up, it was the code zero or the genaker. There were gusts, they came with the rain, but they only made us faster. The boat turned them into speed. So it is no wonder, that our next competitor in the multihull-division, a 62 feet brand new lagoon, was about 300 nautical miles behind, when we arrived. But do not assume, that we suffered a lot. Take, for instance the last night before our arrival: We had a barbecue in the cockpit. While we were enjoying ourselves with music and food the autopilot was steering. There were hardly any noticeable movements, that we almost lost track with reality, until somebody amongst us remarked: „Guys! Please remember: We are sailing…!“ Yes, we were. We were doing 15 knots under spinnaker still far out on the Atlantic Ocean. It just did not feel like it.
The yacht is for charter now. We will be based in St. Vincent, but pick up guests from everywhere between St. Martin and the Grenadines down south. We do have a capacity to accompany 7 Guests in 4 cabins. Proper food is included in the charter fee. In the first place our deckhand is a chef!
So why don’t you join us for the Tobago Keys? Sail faster than the wind. Anchor at perfect beaches and dive down into the blue.
ARC Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
ARC+ FIRST ARRIVAL:
„A huge congratulations to yacht MALISI who has just crossed the finish line outside Rodney Bay Marina after a fast 2100NM passage from Marina Mindelo in the Cape Verdes. All crew are very happy to be here in Saint Lucia after just under 10 days at sea. Here they are crossing the finish line at 0645 local time.“
Worldcruising.com, the host of the rally, updated their news site about our trip:
„Having lost their primary means of email not far out from Mindelo, the crew onboard Malisi did not have a clear idea of where they were in relation to the rest of the fleet, but hoped they were making good progress. This technical fault may have proved effective, as the next arrival is not due for over 24 hours. ‘We really didn’t know where we were most of the time, but it meant we kept pressure on from start to finish’ – Rainer Skipper of Malisi.