RG650 Zhik, Mini Transat 650 number 816 is packed up and ready to sail!Tomorrow morning at 0800 the boat will be back in the water, and my friend and the mini man from Palma Hugo will tow me out of the marina so I can start my 1000nm qualifier.
It has been a hectic week fixing the boat and working on 816 to get her ready for the big passage. 1000nm is no short distance on any standard, especially in a 21 foot yacht! No engine, no outside assistance, and no stopovers make this the most challenging part of qualifying for the Mini Transat. Many who have sailed the Transat before claim that the 1000nm passage is even tougher than the race itself as you are completely alone and there are no boats or sailors around to urge you on.
My course will be:
Palma Mallorca 39 33N 002 37E
Ille de Porguralles 43 01N 006 00E
North Cosica 43 04N 009 26E
Zannone Islands 40 58N 013 03E
South Sardinia 38 54N 008 50E
Palma Palma Mallorca 39 33N 002 37E
The forecast for my transat is reasonably light winds for the first few days as I sail north to the French coast and the Island of Porguralles. I need to get as far north as quickly as possible as stronger winds are forecasted in the Golfe of Lion which is famous for its strong winds. Once I round the Island of Porguralles and sail past Marseille the wind should back to the north west and give me good running conditions towars Cosica.
I will then hopefully have light but good running conditions down the coast of Cosica before I cross towards the Italian coast to round Zannone Island. From there it is anybody’s guess what the wind will do, as conditions change very rapidly and it is impossible to get an accurate forecast for two days, let alone ten. I hope the wind will remain in the East at this point as is the general trend at the moment and this will push me ‘home’ to Mallorca where I will end my qualification passage.
While conditions will be reasonably light for this passage and it will take me longer than I had initially hoped, I do not mind the light winds, especially in the light of the recent incident involving Mini sailor Jeff MacFarline (Mini 716) who rolled and broke his mast a week ago while rounding Manorca.
I am also hoping the conditions will stay warm, and I will not be subject to the Antarctic type conditions we saw two weeks ago while racing in Italy, where I was sure I was colder and wetter than I was when I was racing in the Southern Ocean (though perhaps it was about the same as the North Pacific! brrr) Either way I will be kept nice and warm (not to mention stylish) thanks to the new gear that has been sent to me from Zhik!
Food will be basic, but not as plane as racing food as I will afford myself such luxury’s as chorizo sausage, canned tuna, real spaghetti, fruit, vegies, good coffee and a few bars of nice chocolate.
The boat is in tip top condition at the moment, and recent modifications are now tried and tested, rig re-tuned, and everything inspected to the last detail. I just can not wait to start and finish this qualifier – 10 days alone – I better charge my ipod!
Enough typing, now off to complete the finishing touches on the boat, and pack it up so I can leave first thing in the morning. Stay tuned for further updates!
Thanks heaps to my old and new friends in Palma and abroad who have been so helpful with everything. Special thanks to Hugo for helping me with the boat and lending me his efoy charging system, Lisa for lending me her computer, Amanda and Jason for giving me their apartment, Javier for helping me with repairs to the boat, Aubry for helping me with his van, and of course Brett and Nico for putting up with me and giving me the boat!