Fastnet Race Prep during Cowes Week

Report from Nick Bellico:

It has been a busy week here in Cowes, not only with the boat prep, container work, servicing gear, and Fastnet race prep, but it is also the busiest week of the year for the local marinas with Cowes Week taking place. It has been an interesting dynamic to accomplish all the work on Dorade while trying to deal with other sailors and “weekend warriors” as they call them here.

Once the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary International Regatta came to its close and the crew left, Jens Lange and I immediately dove into our work. We had to start by doing a major clean and re-organization of both Dorade’s interior and exterior.

We then moved to servicing all crew gear, pfds, foul weather gear. Dorade also has Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) for every sailor that races on the boat. We keep the PLBs in safety fanny packs; I cleaned and serviced all parts in the safety packs and PLBs registered to Dorade for Rolex Fasnet. From there we took on the sails and rigging, which needed attention; Jens and I cleaned, dried, re-flaked, lubed all hanks and organized all the sails in our container at Kingston Marina. All our running rigging has been washed, dried, and organized into Dorade’s sail locker.

From there, we moved on to boat work, which started with cleaning and polishing of all the chrome in the heads. After inspection of the tiller pin, we decided to have a new pin manufactured, for a tighter fit. I felt like a yo-yo, going up and down the rigs, as I had to do some varnish work and fix the Dutchman system after the winch accident during the Bicentenary Regatta. This means a minimum of six climbs up the rig. I also had to remove the bronze tang from the port side running backstay which also took damage from the winch. After inspection of the tang, the decision was made to replace it. Unfortunately it is impossible to find any bronze replacement locally, so we are having the piece shipped to us. Once here, we will have it machined and installed.

During the previous regatta, the lazarette hatch underwent some damage and all the screws ripped out from the hinge; so I pulled the hinge, bunged all the holes, applied varnish, and reinstalled the hatch. I also ran the halyards on the main mast and mizzen mast so we can run both pig-sticks and the windsock. I was also up the mizzen mast to paint on our black band, set the sail dimensions for the Fasnet, and take care of a bit of leather work. Jens was able to source out a new belaying pin and replace the one that went overboard on the Transatlantic. He was also able to find a replacement lens for the light in the galley. I was able to take advantage of the few nice sunny days here in Cowes and do some varnish work in the cockpit, the companionway hatch and the stairs.

We have been very busy cracking along with our jobs while dealing with boats rafting alongside, catching and throwing lines. I have never seen a harbor with this many boats. We are constantly being pulled out of our work by someone needing help, or to talk about the history of Dorade. After living onboard Dorade now for a few weeks, I feel at home. I have found that I sleep better here than I do in any other bed I have ever slept on. It feels great to be living aboard Dorade and experiencing Cowes Week at the same time.





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  1. Sweet Life! Doing great Stuff! Race on! Have Fun!