Félibre at the Mini Barcelona 2004.
First placed sailor tells his story, high winds and tough decisions.
 

We are with 20 minis going to race at the Mini Barcelona 2004. It's the first time I
sail with Patrick Malet and we expect to prepare us for the next races (Mini
Max and Mini Med). At the first buoy in Arenys de Mar, we are 12th. We sail
to Menorca with a group of series. The first night is good for us and we are
9th at the control of Mahon after 6 protos. There are 10 series in 1 hour
(Aprotec, Lady Paulette, Félibre, Pour pharmaciens sans frontières, Pco
Technologies, Nacl, Pamplelune, Yamm, Totem et Ataraxie).
During the third day, we lost time between Cabrera and Formentera because we
can't use the gennaker like Lady Paulette, PCO Technologies and Pamplelune.
We are 10th at the control of Formentera around 22h. There is a SW wind. We
sail at 10 knots with spi. Weather forecasts expects a NE 5/6 for tomorrow.
We know that one hour late at Formentera will create a big difference in
Barcelona.

On Tuesday morning, we can't get weather forecasts. Wind is falling during
the morning and it increase around twelve until 40 knots and more during gusts.
We receive water in the face when we look to waves. Waves are 3 meters,
sometimes 4/5. Conditions are hard but OK, we just forgot race during the
afternoon like other boats around us. We decide to keep only solent without
main sail. It's too much some time but wind stops increasing. We sail at 5/6
knots to 320° to escape the depression which is planned to move very fast to
the east. I check that our track is far from island Columbretes. We are in
contact by VHF with other boats sailing with TMT (Tourmatin-stormjib-Leov) and main sail with 3 reefs.
They sail at 3/4 knots at 340. Around 20 h, conditions are easier but weather
forecasts expects wind until Wednesday noon. Some protos easterly than us have
still difficult conditions. They decide to go south and reach a harbor. At
that time, we decide to sail again with 3 reefs in main sail. Close to the
coast, conditions are easier and the wind began turning north. We veer and
can almost sail strait to Barcelona. We know now that our option is the good
one. Happily for us, boats before us didn't choose it.
In the south, several boats sailed west like us but through the islands of
Columbretes. Some of them had harder waves and it inflicted some damages at hull
structure.

Arriving in Barcelona, we learn by VHF that we are first!!!!!!
There are 4 Super-Calins at the five first places. It's a good boat.

       Manuel BERGMAN

SC Félibre 287
www.felibre.net

 

(PS, I like that there are now windspeed figures other then guesses of the crew, much more accurate now, and thanks to Manuel for sending this to me, enjoy your victory....- LeoV)