Leg 4 Race 6 - Hobart, Tasmania to Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, Australia
Number of souls on board: 21
Distance sailed: 2,109nm
Number of days at sea: 12
Finish position: 3rd! Finally a podium!
To steal the lyrics from Nirvana’s Lithium “Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, yeeeaaaaaaaaaaaah, yyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhh”.
What a race we had. We sailed so well. Our tactics and routing were spot on. We were amazing! We left Hobart and made our way through the Tasman Sea…again….for the third time. As we reached the south eastern corner of Aus we had a critical decision to make. Head inshore or stay offshore. We went inshore in very good company with Sanya, Seattle and Qingdao. Only trouble was we didn’t stand a chance of out sailing these guys. But up the coast we went.
Then Claire Bear made the most magical call. She read from our speed and course coupled with the current forecast charts we received that we were struggling deeper into a current. But the others were going in the same direction. So we tacked and headed back closer to shore. It looked like a terrible tack. We nearly turned back three or four times. We were basically going backwards. We lost the others on AIS so couldn’t tell how badly we might be doing. Once we broke free of the current though we shot off. Wind and course came round, boat speeds shot up and we flew but the Bondi Beach. When the next scheds came in we were in first. The other rushed over to join us and battle commenced.
We thought we were screwed. How do we, 10th placed Liverpool contest with 1st placed Sanya (first without even playing a joker yet), consistently performing Seattle who sail the most unbelievable angels up and downwind and Qingdao who have scored points in every single scoring gate so far? I have no idea. First Qingdao dropped off, they didn’t make it out of the current quickly enough. We fought up the coast jostling positions. Then Seattle dropped off and we were one on one with Wendo and Sanya (G.O.A.T? Or just the 17-18 race).
It was so intense. We knew every tack had to be perfect. We had to be quick to call the currents and wind. We had to be so careful with our proximity to the shore as we had a Clipper imposed 2 mile limit. We made so many headsail changes, put reefs in, shook them out. We totally knackered the crew but the saving grace was the warm weather and water. But a huge effort from everyone on bored. It showed us we could be a racing team. We can get the boat speeds of the other boats. We can handle a southerly buster just the same.
As we rounded Fraser Island, edging into that dreadful current we spent so much time avoiding another southerly buster was due. We reefed down and got prepared. It took longer than expected to hit and in this time us and Sanya could barely make any headway north for being so underpowered just slowly drifting east in the current. Seattle caught the buster and screamed up the inside. Race was back on.
We just chased hard up the coast now in full downwind mode, fastest, most confident helmsmen on the wheels (thanks Roy, Nano, Jacob) to try and catch them. As we raced inside the barrier reef and the whitsunday island we lost it. Our tack line chafed through. Terrible seamanship on our part and it cost us 2 places.
It didn’t matter. We screamed into Airlie Beach in 4th and were awarded 3rd after a slight infringement of the coastal limit by Sanya, We were up the top fleet. We had a fun race. We were bloody ecstatic. We were ready to party - well we are Team Liverpool and we had arrived within 40 minutes of 1st place. What a night out it was.
Unfortunately we are now saying goodbyes to an abnormally large number of people. None of our leggers are carrying on. A few of which have been a part of the Liverpool team since day 1 and I hadn’t really taken the time to imagine they would ever leave us. Carrie (the nicest lady in the fleet), Red (the twattiest guy in the fleet), Paulie (the weirdest guy in the fleet) and Steve-O (the best recycler in the fleet) - you aren’t leggers, just half-worlders and you are such a huge part of our team it is going to be emotional saying goodbye. I just need to be told which emotion!
Continue to thank Elliot Brown Watches, Peripheral sunglasses and importantly all those still making generous donations to Mac and Tack. Particularly a huge shout out to Grumpy for an outrageous donation, I am feeling the pressure to deliver a suitably wild story of how your donation has been lavishly spent….but it will certainly not be suitable to publish on here!