The Class 2 yachts are back in the race again. After a long five days in port, American sailor Brad van Liew sailing Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America was the first to leave the harbour in Bayona, Spain and head out to sea.
He was towed by a yacht club launch since his engine, like that of all the Class 2 yachts, has been sealed for the leg to Cape Town. Brad sent a short email to Race Opps shortly after leaving. "Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America set sail at 0740UTC after leaving the dock under tow at 0700 UTC. Crossed inbound sailing track under sail at 0800UTC. I am happy to be headed South West and hope the wind lasts, although I know it won't. Kojiro and I were the first off as we are leaving in the order we arrived. The rest are close behind. Conditions are still sloppy with 10 footers or so but a nice 17 knots from the west at the moment."
The lashing gales and big seas that have been pounding the coast of Spain for the last few days, have subsided finally allowing the yachts to continue on to Cape Town. Ahead of them lies a long passage made more difficult by the knowledge that they have lost touch with the leaders.
The Around Alone is a race steeped in camaraderie and so to have the fleet sailing two separate races is a disappointment to the sailors. There is another reason for keeping the fleet together, and that is for safety. These sailors know that they must rely upon each other to help if they have a problem, and by having a fragmented fleet means a fragmented support system.
Still, there are six Class 2 boats and Ocean Planet, from Class 1 so if anyone needs assistance, there should be a yacht nearby that can come and help. Further to the north John Dennis on Bayer Ascensia has also left port. John was holed up in La Coruna during the storm, but the wind has subsided there are well and this morning John sent his customary abrupt email; "commenced racing at 0840 GMTt,"
was all it read.
While all the Class 2 yachts are now back at sea, two Class 1 boats remain in port. Bruce Schwab, skipper of Ocean Planet has decided to leave on Thursday rather than today in order to carry out some final work on his boat. Bruce had to replace his boom in England and he left Torbay without completing some of the other jobs on his work list.
Determined to have the boat back at 100% before pressing on to Cape Town, Bruce has opted to enjoy the hospitality of the El Monte Real Club de Yates, the local yacht club in Bayona, for one more day. The other yacht not racing is Tiscali. Simone Bianchetti remains in Spain while he and his team try and figure out how to get a replacement mast. No decision has yet been taken. Simone promises to keep us updated on his progress, and we will continue to do the same for you here.
Positions at 1000hrs GMT today
||Bobst Group-Armor Lux
||Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America
||Spirit of yukoh
||Spirit of Canada