So a lot has happened since my last update which just Before the Newport to Bermuda race. Now we are back home in Rhode Island and tackling the jobs on the work list. Life seems like a load of lists sometimes. Before it was the Bermuda race requirements list and now it is back to the normal work list which seems to get longer rather than smaller sometimes. I think this is a classic boat thing as each job you start creates more or highlights other things which can be improved.
So the Bermuda race was a drag race and a good learning curve for us. Lots of things could have been better done but until you have the race crew on for sea trials it is hard to know what is going to work for everybody. I think as far as people that are alive goes at the moment I have done the most mileage on Dorade, however when I deliver the old girl from place to place I treat her gently like the old girl that she is. However when we are racing with Jamie Hilton at the helm we are pushing her as hard as possible. She loves it to and I was surprised at how well she took it.
A few technical issues certainly plagued us on the race and had we know what our competitors knew we probably would have sailed a shorter course and had a very different result. Another thing to remember when sailing with day sailors off shore is that sea sickness may get the better of some people. Fortunately for myself I have never succumbed to it but I do empathise with those who do as it can be very debilitating. Whether you are affected directly or not the knock on affect to the rest of the crew can be huge with standing extra watches and doing longer periods on the helm to give the sick ones a chance to get their strength back.
The stopover in Bermuda was fantastic again and it has quickly become one of my favourite places. There were some good parties with lots of great people all sharing the same buzz from the race. Everyone with their own stories which became more elaborate after a couple of Dark and Stormys’. I even managed an afternoon at Horseshoe beach.
The final day of the Onion patch series was a fantastic day sailing in the protected waters of Hamilton sound. Great breeze and flat waters. Despite sailing a great race we finished second in the onion patch due to our team mates not showing for the start which was a disappointment.
Anyway once all the partying and sailing was out of the way I had to get Dorade back to Newport before a huge weather system shut us off and we would be stuck in Bermuda for at least a week. There was already a hurricane moving to the north east and a tropical storm brewing to the south west. After watching it closely for a few days and discussions with weather routing I made the call to leave and get ahead of it. I knew it was going to get a bit windy and we would have to get her moving quickly to stay ahead of the system but felt confident in the boat now. Safety is my first concern when putting to sea and if I had any doubt in my mind about the safety of the boat or my crew I would have stayed. Some other boats were staying in port and some had already left early. This time sailing with four crew instead of nine was much more spacious down bellow and we still had plenty of freeze dried food to keep us going..
As it happened the delivery home was fast and exhilarating with down wind conditions all the way. Some boats that left before and after us got a kicking with one vessel being abandoned. Bush accompanied us on the delivery, he now has nearly as many miles on Dorade as me. Max the apprentice came for the ride and Laurel was on board to.
As we arrived in Newport after four days at sea we were welcomed by the Americas cup World Series boats. Such amazing boats and a world away from our classic which probably influenced their design may years ago
So after so many miles and such abuse Dorade was looking a little tired and in need of some love. Nothing better for her than several coats of Varnish. Bush called up his team and within a day she was getting sanded down and prepped for the first coat. This time we were going to get the masts vanished as well. This is tricky with them in place but Bush and his boys assured me they could get it done no problem. Max was on hand to help out and learn the trade from the experts. In all we managed to get four coats on the masts and booms and three on everything else on deck. She is really looking great now and I feel like she deserves it. In all I think we have twelve coats on everything on deck now and eight on the masts but she still needs some building up as it is thin in places and the shine gets better the more we can get on. Anyway with all the dust flying everywhere I had to get some other work done and call a stop to the varnish team.
We are now up in Portsmouth at LMI with the boat stripped out again and are getting her put back to normal racing/cruising mode. So much was done to lighten her up for the Bermuda race we now have a lot of equipment to put back on. This includes doors, windlass, motor, pictures, manuals, pulpit removal and a whole lot more.
The boat is now out of the water to repair a little damage sustained to the keel after a grounding incident in Bermuda. It is also a good chance to check the hull over for anything else. We found the rudder flaps need a bit of work and the P bracket had snapped off supporting the prop.
Anyway there is plenty to do and I hope to make a final decision today on what we are doing about the electric issues on board. Next event is Marblehead Panerai Classic regatta in August which I am looking forward to.
We will keep you posted on developments before then.