We have had nice day off, mostly spent sleeping . We arrived at 4am but got a nice massage and ate lots of fresh stuff!
Pretty stressful last leg, got a fab start but in the short upwind there was a massive shift and we got round the windward mark in 5th, bit disappointing and then was drag race out in a line so behind from then!
Then as night fell everyone hoisted their kites but we decided to head offshore in the hope the new winds would come from there, hence being so far out. There were lots of light tricky patches where we just heeled the boat over to try and make the sails fill and was horrid at times! We spent most of the day and night in the tanker field which was tough trying to avoid them and being blinded by all their lights! We were generally lucky though and managed to only have one close call with a moving one, with us going about 1.5knts at the time! As darkness descended the fog came down and we lost the whole fleet and had no idea how we were doing. This was probably a good thing, as we were doing badly now we have seen the tracker, but finally the offshore wind filled in and we picked up speed and as dawn came we were within sight of the whole fleet.
The wind became hugely patchy and boats literally next to each other were in different pressure and there were big changes in distances. We sat in a big hole around the only island on the course and several others fell into this too! Finally we got moving but we could see Cedric in the Zain boat approaching at pace downwind in his own personal wind! It was rather alarming and there was nothing we could do!
As we approached ‘the gap’ at the top of Oman, we decided to go out to sea and stay in the pressure and current and then take one gybe into the rocks on the lay line for the gap. Cedric however managed to hug the walls of the mountains in his own pressure and come very close but we beat him to the gap! There was a crazy tidal rip, like an escalator but taking you in a circle and no wind but somehow we managed to actually make a good crossing and sneaked through in some invisible pressure and managed to get some distance away from the rocks as the big shut down occurred. At this point the current had changed and we started going backwards, at pace! it was quite scary as behind us were only large rocks now not the gap! We quickly decided to drop the anchor and in typical Mary fashion threw it over without being quite ready and then had to attach one by one, more and more of the rope we had on board. Eventually we had the anchorline, two mooring lines, two jib sheets, kite sheet and guy sheet and one spare line which eventually made a grip and we were safe. At this point we could briefly relax and watch as Cedric on Zain got swept backwards really fast through the gap and then went forwards through it and then went backwards again! it was crazy! We told him on the radio we recommended the ‘kedge’!!!
Shortly after this the race was shortened and so we kept our results at the top of Oman. Not a great result , 6th but we were very happy with how we sailed and the decisions we made with the information we had at the time! And it definately could have been worse, two of the boats got timed out
Much better breeze forecast now for the next few legs so hope we can compete with the boys!
Everyone very chirpy and the new girls are really enjoying the sailing and are very sweet even when we wake them up to tack every 5 minutes! Anyway must go to sleep. starting at 8 tomorrow.