Weathering the waves with Supertaff on the Atlantic Rally Challenge
Eight days under sail – and the balmy waters of Bermuda could not be more different from the now changeable conditions in mid-Atlantic.
We’re following Boatshed CEO, Neil Chapman, Curt Mundy (Boatshed Ireland) and Curt’s niece Shea on the Bermuda-Azores leg of the ARC Europe Rally on board the 41-foot Van de Stadt-Rebel 41 ketch ‘Supertaff’ owned by Neil and his wife Mandy.
Follow ‘Supertaff’s progress and track the current location here
Here you can catch up with the highlights from Neil’s daily reports that he’s sending back to Boatshed HQ in Hampshire.
May 23rd – and 893 miles to go!
By Neil Chapman
All was well and by 2100 the wind was down some and we were back on regular watch system. Suddenly the wind shifted and main was backed against preventer.
Pilot did a great job – but suddenly the wind is screaming and Supertaff is hove to against the preventer broadside to weather. Wind is increasing as the squall hits and – as I am checking for lines and getting ready to start engine to bring her round – a wave breaks fully over the stern, pushes all the fenders up over the taffrail, fills up the stern cockpit and washes away the lifebuoy and light.
“Blinded by sea water...cannot see a thing”
Fortunately, the Danbuoy is still aboard so I can recover lifebuoy and light...flash-flash-flash...blinded by sea water on glasses cannot see a thing...plus driving rain. Inspiration comes when I put the MOB strobe in the lazarette as I cannot turn the thing off (pin pulled sets it off) and completely blinded by it flashing. Shut lid and phew, I can see again. At the same time I see green and then red masthead light pretty close....’Leander’.
Decide that the bigger priority is to get sailing again as the wind and waves are smashing into our stern and the preventer is taking massive load. I do a final rope check for anything over the side and shout down to Curt (I did not let them go outside yesterday) to start the engine.
May 24th – and 748 miles to go!
All fine here [now] and have spent the day sorting the boat out and ourselves after yesterday's gale.
Sailing has still been pretty full on as we are keen to keep moving along – plus we have had a couple of squalls today. Most of the day we have been running down wind and hopefully our mileage will be back up to keep us on target to get to the Azores in time for the events there.
We discovered a few more leaks in certain areas and have been kept busy with cleaning many areas that got wet. The stern cockpit flooding episode yesterday drove 25 years of untouched dirt and rubbish forward into the bilges for example.
Only casualty was a cracked tea mug
Damage so far looking like one tea mug that was cracked during a tea cockpit fall episode last night. Water bottles all re-filled today and tank topped off so still fine here on water resources.
Everyone is doing well and has stepped up to the tasks and challenges today. At present we are sailing on a beam reach in about 18 knots well reefed and I can hear both Curt and Shea snoring so good that they are getting a well earned rest.
Just reset the sails again as run out of wind and motor is on 1200 revs to save fuel. Nautical twilight here and the day is looking clear.
Keep tracking back for more information and updates!