Racing Reports

Fastnet retirement

A 4mm hole was the main issue.

The tape on the Furler broke in 30kts off the Lizard so we went from 2 reefs in the Genoa to none in 2 seconds and had to pull down the Genoa then put up the HW Jib. The furler had been damaged at the start and we had repaired it, but it was slightly distorted and the tape had found a sharp edge. bringing up the HW Jib we found the forward sail locker had a lot of water in, as had the second sail locker plus small locker and cupboard.

The wind was forecast to get slightly stronger than the 30 Kts we had before decreasing, plus we had some wind against tide to come. After not initially finding where it was coming in (which meant we couldn’t assess whether it might get worse) it was obvious that further investigation to find the leak in the front end in those conditions was going to be hazardous.

The HW jib was slightly on the large size for the conditions plus the team hadn’t practiced MOB with having to pull down a sail. In big seas not enough sail is as dangerous as too much but we are also rated on only a single furling headsail so using the HW jib would mean retirement, though this could have been after finishing.

We turned into Falmouth and considered temporary shelter and returning to race but rejected the idea.
One other factor I took into consideration was that we had trained for MOB with a furling headsail not with having to pull down a genoa.

Our initial attempts to find the leak involved plugging the Anchor locker scuppers then filling the locker with water and we found a small leak on a switch.

After sleeping on it we sailed to Fowey but water was still coming in and it wasn’t from the switch. The run from Fowey to Plymouth saw mainly our heroic Volunteer Tim, and to a lesser exent me, upside down in the forward locker plus hanging over the side. Eventually the cause became clear, a screw was missing from a scupper cover, the hole had been drilled all the way through the Hull so, when it went under the water in came the green stuff. We hadn’t been able to find it as it was in a gap of about 10mm between the Hull and the Anchor locker so very hard to see or get at from the inside.

Of our class of 54 starters 32 finished and partcicluar congratulations to Nimrod with 5 former Wild Spirits on board plus Kindred Spirit with 2.

Looks like I will have to keep Wild Spirit untill at least 2021 then I might retire properly.

My thanks to a great team on Wild Spirit truly a Unique blend of Age, Experience and Immaturity.

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