6th to 11th, June 2017
Coming straight from sailing FaceOcean around Spain and Portugal my brother’s IMOCA who just finished the Vendee Globe, we fly to Turkey to go on delevering Yasasin from Didim to Istanbul (about 400miles).
Thank God, luck was with us, and despite a breakdown (flying winch), no-one was injured. read on
So here we are, ready to sail up to Istanbul to take part of the long race starting the 14th of July in the Bosphorus.
The weather is as expected:
Tuesday, Northerly wind 15knots increasing to 25 on Thursday turning East in the Dardanelles and the Marmara sea.
Great. We could not hope for worst. Ah, how about some rain?
We are 4 to sail, and lucky us we meet Ardic at Istanbul airport, coming to help us prepare the trip with shopping and stuff.
Peter Thagaard who was with me on FaceOcean (IMOCA) the past 2 weeks,
Lionel Courcier, a french sailor enjoying long offshore sailing,
Senol, turkish boatman, knowing the boat better than anyone else,
Myself, crossing fingers for succeeding this task this time (we remember our unfortunate dismasting at the last attempt in 2015)
After a wonderful night at the Marmara Bodrum, we arrive at the boat at 10.30 and get on right away with setting the J4, preparing the deck, packing the food, our bags, and off we went at 2pm with a moderate 15knots of Westerly wind.
As usual, 2 reefs and J3, the journey can start.
Perfect start with a course set to 225 at 13 to 14knots sometimes increasing to 15-16 when the proper straight course should be 310.
During the afternoon, we make some tacks more to get used to doing it than for the real needs. But the crew is new except Senol, so it is a good excercise for Peter and Lionel to feel comfortable for the probable night manoeuvers we expect.
The deal was made that every time I am resting, all 3 are available on deck, or at least dressed to take action in no time.
The watch plan was: Senol and Peter – Lionel and myself
Funny to think that Senol only speaks turkish, Peter does not speak french, Lionel does not speak danish. It was sometimes funny to hear how we communicated.
Late afternoon, the wind dropped and we hoisted fullmain and J1. But that did not last long as the wind was not friendly, dropping to under 3 knots.
Here we go, motoring for some hours. Grrrr
The night went smooth and noisy. Senol took a couple of hours sleep after he had his dinner (because of ramadan we offered him to rest the first), Peter a little too, and then Lionel.
Not lucky with the wind, we had to use the engine quite a lot, and became rather frustrated considering the weather forecast we had and continued to have.
We sailed between Kios and Cesme, meeting ferries and fishingboats but as we were motoring most of the time, no risks were taken.
Later on the second day, we used the sails some hours, basically holding the route straight. We had the pleasure to use our new genaker eventhough the wind was light, giving us nightmare to trim the sail properly.
In the evening, we entered the Dardanelles, fearing a little the heavy traffic in this narrow straight in the dark. Too bad we could not see this beautiful area, full of history.
So comes the Marmara sea, with the Marmara Island to pass.
The wind, 4knots SW seems to increase slowly. So great to consider hoisting the maxi genaker. So off we go, able to stop the engine at a 7 to 8knots of speed.
The spirit is at its top. Yeah
Of course that does not last long and soon we have to roll this great sail again, and hear our great motor.
On and Off, we sail or motor, mostly with J1 to help as easier to roll when the wind dies.
At about 30miles to our destination, the wind looks good and we roll out our J3 to average a 9 to 10knots. Wow. At last
Later on, a dark cloud shows up and after some drops of rain, the speed increases. The wind is N of 10 to 15 knots still climbing.
The autopilot is perfect and no one is even near the helm,but I suggest to all to get close to J3 sheet and main-traveller control, just in case the wind picks up more under this darker and darker cloud.
And there it comes, we are flying at 25knots and the fun to feel the spray water really pleases Peter and Lionel, partly coming for that kind of sailing. An ORMA can and should sail at 25knots and above.
The sails are not in balance as we are carrying full-Main and J3, and the leaward hull starts to disappear now and then. I rush to the help, order to realize the headsail sheet and a little bit the main traveller.
Too bad the J3 is totally open and the speed drops. Time to reef.
We first go for 1 but quickly continue to 2 reefs in the Main.
Once the headboard hooked, Peter pull in the 2nd reef-line with the winch for the main-traveler. And there comes the incredible lucky happening which could have end up as a disaster, the selftailing finger took off with a bursting move which really could have badly hurt who ever was in the way. But Peter was at the grinding handles and could only tell us that the winch was unusable.
Other luck, every part gone did not end up lost in the sea but in the cockpit. Thank God we’re all safe
With 15 miles to go, we decided to drop the mainsail completely not willing to damage something else. We are not racing, so let’s be very conservative
With an average of over 11knots, we reached the marina at 21.15 where a nice crew was waiting for us and helped us finding our evening spot before we changed it next day.
We used 55hours for this trip, 7 hours more than the first time we did it in 2014, but with lot more engine hours unfortunately.
Thank you Lionel, Peter and Senol for your participation, thank you Peter and Lionel for your great cooked lunch and dinner, thanks all for the good spirit, and hopefully we’ll be seeing you on board again some day.
Next sailing session set to the 24th to 26th of June
here a little video on Youtube
And here an other video where we reach 25knots (Peter T)