Wake Thursday morning and look out the window and what do I see. Gray skies and a lot of rain, and we are supposed to be out on the sea practicing today. Shit!
At nine a´clock we are sitting in a conferensroom for a rundown of the race by Sebastian Christensson of what is the best way for succeeding. He is going through the course using a powerpointpresentation to show us what is the best route and where we have to watch out for underwater hazards.
Slowly it is sinking in what we are about to do. It´s going to be though out there. The forecast is speaking of 0-4m/s of winds at the start and during the day it is going up to 15m/s in the gusts. In a dingy. What was I thinking? I got to get better at controlling my impulses.
Outside the rain continues to pour down. We decide to wait with the practice until after lunch and goes for a walk up to town for lunch, and to do the last of the shopping of the stuff that we need for the race. One of the things that we are buying is a portapotti toilet. It seems to be a better solution than the bucket we thought of first. I think it might fit into the boat. Maybe. But basically we are just waiting for the rain to pass so that we can go out practicing.
At 1 AM we are in the boat with the drysuits on and on our way out for some practice before the race. Guess if it´s stopped raining? Not exactly! It´s slight drizzle when we are on our way out, but soon it starts to pour down in buckets. The wind is picking up speed and are about 8m/s strong. Later we will find out that it was a good rundown of what was going to be in the race. Stay out for about 2 hours before we have enough. When the cap looked like a wettex and then fingers felt like sponges at least I had enough.
On the way back to the docks we met Joakim Holmqvist who is on his way out for another practice run in his Seascape 27. He really looks focused, lets hope they do alright in the race.
Somewhat relaxed we anchor the boat and starts to fold the mainsail. Kjelle also starts to disassemble the Torqeedo engine. The Torqeedo consists of three parts: tiller, battery and drivetrain. I´m on the dock putting the battery in the bag when I hear a very loud SPLASH and at the same time I hear Kjell screaming ” It´s fucking unbelievable, I was holding on to it”. I didn´t hava a very good feeling in my stomach when i turned around to have a look. The first thing that I see is Kjell looking down into the water as if he could lift the engine from the bottom by pure willpower. It was like a reincarnation of Yoda, but without the funny talk. For my part I hold my breath for a very long time, just to avoid saying something that would make us enemies for life.
Now Kjell starts to sorting out the anchor line in some sort of meditative purpose ( I think he was quite mad). After a wile when we have calmed down a bit we start to think about how we are supposed to get the bloody engine out of the water. Because without an engine, no race and a very short vacation.
Now Kjell jumps into the water trying to get to the bottom. Kjell, who is 174 cm short and weighing 63kg, in a drysuit without a weight belt. That was a no go from the start. It is now that I decide to have a go at it. I trow the anchor in the water trying to get hold of the engine, and I can feel the engine but it slips of the anchor all the time. It is now that I get the briljant idea to jump into the water to get a better angle for the anchor. A small tip to all of you people out there. If you decide to do this maneuver, take of the bloody lifejacket. The surprise I had when it inflated and almost choked me.
The engine is on the bottom of the channel and we are one lifejacket short. The Bohusrace is really starting of well. Takes of the inflated lifejacket and and grabs the anchor and tries to get hold of the engine. To my surprise I feel something heavy on the other end of the line and starts to pull. Soon I see the black battery cable down below and grabs hold of it, and finally I can pull the engine up on the dock.
Signia Cruises is on track again!
The alarm clock calls at 6 AM. I have been awake since 4:25 AM. It is strange that it´s so hard to get a good nights sleep when I know that I´m going to be awake for between 35-40 hours. Nervous? A bit actually. It´s lucky that Signia Cruises has the expertise of Captain Kjell on our team, as long as he keeps the hell away from the engine. That is my responsibility from now on.
We carry down all the gear that we are going to use during the race, and then we go up the breakfast for a bite to eat. I only drink one cup of coffee this morning, because I really don´t want to have an upset stomach today. Even Harry Houdini would not want to sit in a Seascape 18 on a portapotti toilet in a lifejacket and with a drysuit wrapped around his legs.
At 7:30AM we are on the dockside saying goodbye to Gunilla and Sofi with both hugs and kisses. Strangely they don´t appreciate jokes like ” You better kiss me good now, because you may never see me again” Certain girls don´t have a good sense of humor. Or maybe it was just a bad joke.
During the night the wind has changed and we decide to try and sail out to the start. That is with what little wind there is. What is happening? It´s hardly any wind at all. I know that the forecast said 0-4m/s, but why do they have to be right today of all days?
When we start at 9:00AM in the first group of boats there is no wind at all. What a bloody fiasco. It takes us more than two hours to sail up to the Uddevalla bridge, a distance of 1,6NM. Boring! Later we are going to have all the wind that we want, but right now we are unaware of that.
After the bridge we turn south down the Uddevalla fjord and starts to zig-zag our way down against the wind. We are on the way down to Hättestads lighthouse out in the ocean. After an hour the wind is picking up speed and it starts to look like the sailing we wanted all along. Unfortunately for us the wind is picking up more speed by the hour and the rain is pouring down in buckets. We are doing our best to keep up with the wind and the waves, and we don´t have time for much else. One reason for the lack of pictures.
At about 14:00AM the wind has picked up even more speed and I would guess that we have 16m/s in the gusts. It is starting to get almost impossible to sail. We have to much sail set, the boat is almost flat on the side more than once. Then the worst gust yet comes upon us, and the boat is flat on the side with the mast and sails completely in the water, and it refuses to turn back.
I´m standing on the rails in the cockpit and holding on to the rigging. It´s hard to estimate how long we are on the side but maybe around 20.30 seconds. It is starting get quite stressful now. In the corner of my eye I see Kjell jumping over the tiller putting his feet on one of the rudders, grabbing hold of the other, and starting to pull. Slowly the boat starts to get upright again, and we can breath normally. We both realize that we have to take a reef in the main. We find a small cove where we can do that, and I can take a leek. Funny how a little stress makes you want to pee isn´t it?
Lets try sailing again. Works better than before, but not good enough. We still have to much sail up and we don´t have anymore reefs to use. After a wile we are getting closer to the Tjörn bridge and we notice that wind is even stronger out to sea. Now we are talking about actually quitting the race. What really makes it easy to take that decision is when we notice that aa part of the rigg is broken.
Lets go back to Uddevalla.
On our way home we are doing about ten knots with a reef in the main. Good sailing! To bad for us it was not in the race. Now when everything had calmed down a bit I looked down into the cabin. The sight that meets my eyes is not a very pleasant one. The portapotti is on its side and all of the sanitation fluid is out on the floor. But what really bother me is that my candy has decided to take swimming lessons today. Shit! Sometimes life´s a bitch.
I call Gunilla and tell her that we are on our way back to Uddevalla, and that it would be very nice if she and Sofi could come and get us. I really don´t want to sleep on the boat after a day like this.
We probably do the fastest disassemble of the boat so far and set our course in the car for Smögen and the cabin they have rented. It is a cabin that is so small, that if all four of us take a deep breath the whole thing would collapse. But I don´t care, I just want to sleep. Drysuit goes off and the eyes where shut before I hit the pillow.
Thats the end of the Bohusrace for us.
PS: On Sunday we find out hat only 50 lof 165 boats has finished the race, so it was probably wise to quit after all.
And finally some pictures from “sunny” Uddevalla:
To be continued….