De grootzeil trimmer van Team Delft Challenge, Jurjen Streng, vertelt in dit stukje hoe de langste etappe van Sailing Arabia the Tour ons afging in het volgende verslag:
Leg 3: Doha – Khasab
Everybody had been looking forward to leg 3. By far the longest leg that would take us from Doha to Khasab in Oman in 270 miles packed with a lot of downwind action. Then, on the day of the start the weather turned around completely. It would be an upwind in 10 to 15 knots of wind the first 30 hours and then the breeze would disappear.
Our start was good, not the first one over the line but we were among the leading boats around the top mark. We managed very good speeds throughout the day and had EFG just above us and Averda behind us while tacking between anchored oil tankers. When the fleet converged again at the first mark it turned out Zain and Renaissance made good use of a shift in the wind and crossed just in front of us. The leading boats were now close to eachother again and there was no way of telling who would come out on top. As the night fell we seperated from the fleet using our newly learned navigational knowledge. During the night we focussed on keeping the boatspeed high constantly, because during these hours differences could be made.
The next morning the wind was starting to get lighter. We were now approximately halfway but our strategical plan had not worked and we were now in 5th position. The top 4 far in front of us, the last 4 boats far behind us. This part was really tricky. One moment we had 6 or 7 knots of boatspeed to be completely dead in the water the next. The weathermodels were useless here and the navigators had to work with just the clouds and the sight of other boats in the distance to position us where the wind would be. We rolled our dice, and we lost. Our big lead over the girls evaporated completely as we were parked and helplessly saw them sail by. Shortly after that the race was shortened because of a lack of wind and we finished behind the pros in 7th position.
Unfortunately, the fleet was still 150 miles away from Khasab and there was no wind. While motoring we found out about Mark Loyd’s, the race photographer, bad taste in music on the VHF popquiz, the team learned the hard way that playing catch with a sandwich on a boat is not a good idea if you’re almost out of food and Coen told a story nobody listened to. The racecomittee decided to give it another shot and restart the leg when the wind picked up but before the startline could be layed in the wind died out again.
After about 55 hours we finally reached Khasab in the evening. After a nice dinner with fresh food instead of mueslibars and noodles everybody quickly went to bed as the next leg to Sohar would start the next morning already.
Tot op het water!
– Team Delft Challenge