Tribe Sailing Blogs
James Hardiman is sailing the Azores And Back race (AZAB). Now in Ponta Delgado, he can tell the first part of his story:
All went well in the race – generally we had a really pleasing result for 2 corinthian sailors up against some seriously experienced ocean racers. We pushed hard for 9 days, not relenting once. Had a few boat breakages but all is well. The boat is Swedish – so strongly built! I now feel very tired after 9 days and 9 nights of no sleep, bad food and living at 45 degree angle in a wet and noisy, slamming hell hole! (Boat slams against waves as you try to sleep).
Each night I managed about 2 hrs max. The whole boat is soaked and I have lost a lot of electrical equipment due to flooding from general wave ingress, so we have a lot of drying to do. We finally finished at 08.18 this am to a gun and small welcome committee in Porto Delgada. We were the 17th to finish, but are currently 18th on the leader board after handicap. This may change.
I am proud to say we were the first “cruiser/racer” boat to arrive – all other boats here before us are true race machines.
We have had an eventful race to say the least, here’s a round up:
1. The start was fretful as I had to go up the mast twice to untangle lines (halyards) only 10 mins before our start gun in Falmouth. Incidentally, I believe there are good photos of our boat at the start on the azab website. Professional photos – so they would be better to use. We will pay for them so order shat you need and bill them to us.
2. Nevertheless we got a good start and were still 3rd boat in class over the line!
3. The first leg was windward and in lovely sunshine and light winds. That evening we sadly discovered that our entire fresh water supply had leaked and we had only about 20 litres remaining from our 165l tank. Not good. We then set about tipping all our wine and spirits down the sink to bottle up what water remained in the tank. I even filled the saucepans and left them on the gimballed stove so they wouldn’t spill. Every available container was used!
4. That night the wind increased but it was pleasant sailing. The next day we were 11th in the whole field due to a good nights run but we soon lost that becasue we took a line to the Azores straight through two low pressure weather systems and had a bit of a beating. Most other boats skirted round the lows and did better in the end!
5. Another main event was our Autopilot broke on day 3. This is quite serious because then it meant we had to hand steer all the way and take 2-3 hr watches, dep on weather. So the whole race has been hard. Other boats (3 I believe) actually retired with similar auto pilot (self steering) problems so it gives you an idea of the problem
6. Next problem was in a big windy night we lost the sail (a halyard broke and down it came). That took us over an hour to sort at 2am in wind and rain – Not nice.
7. Day 4 we were surfing at over 17 knots (which is a lot) and feels like a total sleigh ride! It was shortly after that when we nearly hit a whale. Bigger than theboat! That really shook us up. If you hit one of those poor beasts at that speed (or any speed) damage to the boat is often catastrophic. We would have perhaps lost the vessel, so it was a sobering experience.
8. Day 5 was horrid – we lost all wind after a force 7 (yachtsmans gale as some call it). So from 30kts + to 0kts – a massive contrast. No wind might sound sublime but it is a sailors nightmare. Slapping sails means the boat rolls and is so heart numbing when racing.
9. As if it couldn’t get worse, after another good run and a forecast finish position of 11th – we then hit more high pressure and a massive wind hole for almost 12 hours! We slipped to something like 43rd position as other boats had taken a different course to avoid this high. We blundered into it – and deserved it!
10. We then got the tail end of another low and had a downwind ride at good speed to regain a high leader board position – back to the top of the fleet again!
11. Alas worse was to come. When we finally sighted the Azores it was a happy moment after 8 days at sea. The sun shone and the end was nigh. However we got too close to the east side of the island as we were rounding it to finish on the southern side. We (and 3 other boats) sat in a wind shadow of the island for another half day (12 hrs). At 2am this morning I had more flapping sails and spirits so low. The wind finally kicked in at about 6am and we finished the last 15 miles or so under spinnaker (big yellow one) and good boat speed. iGOSKi was flying! In fact so fast we had to round up and douse all sails just before the line so as not to wipe out the welcome boat!
12. Now: We have lots of boat repairs and the good people at Arcona in Hamble will help us sort of steering probem. The boat needs serious drying out and I must catch up on work. 9 days before the return leg to sleep, eat and repair!
To support James’s AZAB challenge visithttp://www.sail4cancer.org/JamesAzab2011
Tourists looking for an activity holiday in Europe this year could do worse than arrange yacht charters in Turkey or go flotilla sailing in the country. With more than 5,000 miles of breathtaking coastline, holidaymakers have an array of choices at their fingertips when selecting potential destinations in Turkey.
When not enjoying the spray of the sea, people can head inland to experience adrenaline-surging activities such as rock-climbing and trekking excursions, or they can don their wetsuits for white water rafting.
Joanna Marsh, PR co-ordinator for the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office, also recommended that “a hot air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia is another experience not to be missed”.
The office has also suggested that visitors make a trip to Istanbul, a city which it claims has a unique culture and must be visited by travellers at least once in their life.
Istria in Croatia has been named as one of the top summer holiday destinations for 2011. Holidaymakers planning a yacht charter in Croatiacould be drawn to Istria for its “crystalline blue bays, tranquil coves, white pebble and sandy shores”, the National Geographic Traveller suggests.
The region was among the top 10 resorts chosen by the editors thanks to its stunning coastline and the Medulin Riviera, with its historic hilltop villages and ancient ruins. Anyone taking a sailing holiday in Croatia can head to Istria for a 333-mile stretch of coast boasting dozens of Blue Flag beaches.
Pula, where the nearest airport is located, is home to a well-preserved Roman amphitheatre dating back to the first century AD and will host the Pula Film Festival in July, offering a series of screenings and cultural events for visitors.
Yacht hire in Croatia has been given a boost with news of 79 new berths for ‘mega yachts’ in Mandalina Marina & Yacht Club.
The first mega yacht marina for Croatia, based five nautical miles from the open sea in Sibenik Bay, will allow pleasure boaters and holidaymakers access to yachts up to 460ft in length.
The scenic town of Sibenik is situated between two national parks in the country, the Kornati islands and Krka waterfalls in Middle Dalmatia. The region is envisaged as a premier gateway for yachts, offering convenient access to more than 1,200 islands in the Adriatic region, as well as forming an outstanding hub for cruising the Italian coast and eastern Med.
Pontoon producers Marinetek worked with investors NCP Group and Dogus Group to meet high environmental as well as aesthetic standards with the project. With a coastline sea depth suitable for yachts with a maximum draft of 20ft, the depth next to the floating concrete pontoons reaches just under 50ft.
Portable water and electricity is available at the marina, as well as telephone connectivity through in-water slips and Wi-Fi internet access, all overseen by full-time staff based at the waterside – so there’s every luxury available for those seeking a sailing holiday in Croatia.
The volcanic island of Milos could be this year’s best-kept secret for those on a sailing holiday in Greece who are keen on taking a short break within the country.
Located around 100 miles south-west of Athens, the horseshoe-shaped island is a quiet destination which is known locally for its array of colourful sand belts.
The shades range from serene cream to a more imposing black, with pebbles of almost every colour to be found by beachcombers.
A series of unusual rock formations playing against a backdrop of pale blue-green water also adds to the charm of the Aegean Sea location.
Once on the island, there is plenty for visitors to do – explore the castle ruins to be found at the top of the white-washed Cycladic village of Plaka or drive to the northern towns of Pollonia or St Constantine, where colourful fishermen’s boat garages dot the coastline.
Sailing enthusiasts considering possible destinations may want to plot a summer course for Greece and Turkey. Those planning a yacht charter in Greece can look forward to beautiful weather, amazing beaches and plenty of culture inland, with a trip to the country’s capital Athens a must for visitors.
Millions flock to the ancient city’s ruins each year. The Acropolis is an awe-inspiring sight – perched on a hilltop, these ruins include the famous Parthenon and are sure to thrill holidaymakers of all ages.
The same can be said for a bareboat charter in Turkey, which, apart from serene sailing conditions and clear blue seas, offers the opportunity to explore archaeological sites around the coast.
Turkey also represents a great venue for a family holiday and the capital Istanbul has numerous attractions for both young and old, including the Dolphinarium, which regularly puts on live shows featuring walruses, dolphins and belugas.
Officials in the Greek island of Rhodes have predicted that this year will see a huge rise in visitor numbers.
Tourists visiting Greece and the Greek islands have many options when it comes to entertainment, with a yacht charter in Greece among the many things to do.
With rising visitor numbers expected, there could be a rise in holidaymakers taking a yacht charter or flotilla in Greece while on the Island of Rhodes or from the mainland.
The prediction comes as bookings show that Rhodes will be visited by more than 600 cruise ships by the end of the year.
The 600-plus ships will bring more than 700,000 tourists to the island – almost 25% up on the figure for last year.
In 2010 539 cruise ships docked in Rhodes, seeing 561,000 visitors head onto the island.
Figures for last month show that visitor numbers were up 42% on those recorded 12 months earlier – from 11,802 to 19,256.
Policy changes introduced by the Greek government have had a positive effect on the Rhodes cruise industry.
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