Sydney-Hobart 2016 - when dreams come true ...
Report of the participant of the race in the team SimpleSail Russian Team.
Of course, at leisure, I looked through many different videos from 600-mile and round-the-globe races, but I had no idea that I would ever take part in one of them. However, the universe always surprises you when you do not expect them at all, otherwise what is the surprise? And so, I was called to the team. Ahead was a long and intense process of preparation.
First, it was necessary to get at least basic certificates of the skipper and VHF-operator. Secondly, it was necessary to take a course of survival on the water, as this is a necessary condition for participation in the team. Thirdly, to apply for an Australian visa, which was technically a simple matter, but as it turned out, it was worth a lot of nerves from the participants - many, applying for a month or more before departure, received visas literally on the last day after repeated calls to the Australian Immigration Service . Well, a bunch of other things: to purchase offshore equipment, tighten the level of English, bring yourself in good physical shape, etc.
Finally, flying half the world, the whole team gathered in Sydney. We had six days of training, two days preparing the yacht for the race, and one free day at Christmas and buying gifts and souvenirs close. We were 12 people, of which 10 Russian guys of different ages and yachting experience (three of them, by the way, participated in 2014 in this regatta), the owner of the boat Murray is a New Zealander who has been living in Australia for 20 years (it was his already the eighth Sydney-Hobart) and your obedient servant a programmer from Kazakhstan, who works in Moscow.
The SimpleSail Company, thanks to which it became possible for the Russian team to participate in the Sydney-Hobart regatta 2016, is a yacht charter company with its fleet in Montenegro and Croatia.
During training, perhaps, our team has developed a truly in a single unit, as Murray drove us so that we rarely had time to just have a drink. Sails for winds of any strength and direction: 5 spinnakers, 2 jibs, jib top, genoa, code zero, storm sails - all of them must be delivered and cleaned in different ways in the shortest possible time, plus a bunch of turns under each of the sails. In addition, we constantly competed with ourselves in the speed of taking reefs and reassembling sails for re-staging. In the course of all these maneuvers we proceeded Sydney Bay along and across, and on the last day of training we went out into the ocean and passed the starting distance from the beginning to the end.
During training, we constantly saw other boats, among which were all known Wild Oats IX, CQS, Scallywag, Maserati. Thanks to our photographer Alexander Lvov, for the excellent shots from training! When you are on a boat, you do not notice all this, because the whole world is compressed to your zone of responsibility, and what is happening around, perhaps, is only aware of the helmsman and navigator.
Early in the morning, everyone rents their suitcases and bags to be sent to Hobart by ferry, since you can take only a non-flyer, one pair of shoes (boots) and a small bag-sack with you on your yacht. Then everyone goes to the yacht, making their way through the crowds of people who came to the marina to look at the yachts, wish them luck and lead the teams to the race.
At 11, saying goodbye, we go out into the bay and perform the necessary procedures - we raise the storm sails and pass before the judicial vessel, demonstrating our readiness, and then we move to our starting line. There are only 3 of them - the biggest and fastest boats ahead, then the middle ones, and then quite small ones (the smallest boat from the finishers - 9 meters long, built in 1932).
At 1 pm, a starting shot sounds. Without too much modesty, I can say that we started very well and were among the first. But then we have trouble - a second batten is flying out of the grotto, and Murray, loudly cursing, orders to turn around and go to the dock for a spare batten. Already later, everyone recognizes that this was an incorrect tactical decision, which cost us an hour of time, especially since the regulations forbid taking assistance from the coast after the start, and we had to make a spare batten from improvised means. As a result, we left the bay last. Later it turned out that this point was noted in many media. And if we started all together, then probably no one wrote about our team :)
After the start, all the boats dispersed. Just a couple of hours from all sides on the horizon could be seen rare sails. After the first hot dinner (every day from 16 to 17 o'clock) all change into working clothes and the first watch takes over on duty. We had 3 watches for 4 people: the helmsman, the main trimmer, the spinnaker trimmer, the grinder. Day watches for 3 hours, night at 2. Due to my small experience, great endurance and good knowledge of English, I was a grinder in the watch of Murray. It can be said that I was lucky, because it was on our watch that most of the sailing operations fell on which the whole team rises, i.e. I managed to relax more or less normally after my watch.
In comparison with training, in my opinion the race was much easier. As they say, it's hard to teach - it's easy to fight.
Almost the entire race was blowing a fair wind, so the grinder is not boring, but there are also few turns, so do not overreact. The hardest for me was not the period when it blew out under 30 knots, and the first morning when we got into a complete calm. Cloudy gray sky without the sun, boundless sea without shores boat that is swayed by irregular waves in one direction and then the other - all this completely disoriented me. Only after doing something, I was able to cope with seasickness until the end of my watch.
At some point, you get used to everything. You pass to the regime of the naval-watch-rest, you pass the time in conversations. From time to time, there are some special situations - for example, the winch breaks, the sail breaks, a sudden rush brings in broaching, but in general everything is fine and calm. Even get used to the height of waves in a couple etazhey which rises astern, driving the boat. Periodically, we overtook some other yachts, thereby feeling that we are not alone in this world, and are by no means the weakest. In the distance someone is watching the tracker, and we just moved in anticipation to see the land - the famous organ rock Tasmania.
We crossed the finish line in Hobart at 13:45:30, i.e. after 3 days, 45 minutes and 30 seconds. If until now you are not particularly aware of what happened, then when after the finish your yacht passes for the judges' boat along all the berths, where people stand applauding you, at this moment there is an understanding of what a big way you have been passed.