Leg 5 Race 7 - Good terrible but not terribly good

Leg 5 Race 7 - Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, Australia to Sanya, Hainan Dao, China

Number of souls on board: 18

Distance sailed: 4,665nm

Number of days at sea: 24

Finish position: 6th

So a bit late catching you all up with this race. Hmm, what to say. By quick summary it was a good terrible race…but not a terribly good race. 

We started the race with the fleet’s first Le Mans start after motoring out of the Whitsundays and through the great barrier reef. The start was in very light winds and it we quickly learned (read: stole) a new idea on flying our Code 1 spinnaker in light airs using it to reach along at a 50 degree apparent wind angle (spinnakers are generally used to sail downwind and 50 is basically fully upwind). 

With our new found enthusiasm after such a good race up to Airlie there was lots fo energy on board and we fought pretty hard. We tied ourselves to the half the fleet that headed almost straight north, avoiding the scoring gate and a potentially massive wind hole. This paid off for us and put us into 5th position about a quarter of the way into the race. Here we seemed to stay. 

We worked our way through the Luzon straight into the East China Sea. We tried a tactical call on the weather to cut off the corner and hopefully allow us to catch up a bit with the leaders. 

Of course, as is the Liverpool luck, the wind hole we thought we were skimming moved in an unforecast manner and enveloped us allowing the the leaders to pull slightly further ahead. Unfortunately it also allowed Seattle to sail up and over us seeing us stuck in a windhole. 

A mid fleet finish not too bad. And a grand welcome to China. We had a fantastic crew with all our new Leg 5 joiners and have to thank all of my watch for a fantastic attitude and positivity it was a very fun leg and I loved sailing with all of you.

Oh and did I mention we managed the magic trifecta? Yup, we broke all three spinnakers in one race. I have truly pissed off the sail repair team this time.

We have all enjoyed Sanya. It has been an amazing experience with the change in culture and particularly the lack of English anywhere. Sanya is a top holiday destination for the Chinese and Russians. So ordering in  restaurants involved a lot of pointing and hoping - but still yet to eat the delicacy that is chickens feet. Communication with hotel concierges and waiters is almost directly through Google Translate and Waygo apps. 

We ventured down to the beach where there was a beautiful boardwalk full of restaurants and bars with a relaxed atmosphere by day and a party atmosphere by night. The grand central park had the group dance sessions and tai chi on going. I took a tour to the jungle and a Liu family village but these parts seemed very “put on” and much like going to Epcot, Disneyworld and a little bit fake. 

Now we set off again up to Qingdao in northern China. The expectation is that it will get ridiculously cold and be very windy and upwind which makes for a slow slog and boring sailing. We will see.