From Nandor Fa on Spirit of Hungary: Anything Can Happen

From Nandor Fa on Spirit of Hungary: Anything Can Happen

Many of us worked so hard put the boat together, but even so we don’t have polar-curve chart(characteristic speed indicator), nor a sail crossover chart - we are sailing based on our senses and experiences, having been confident at first.

Emails from the boats JAN 4, 2015 16:33

We only test sailed twice before the start,  and both were really useful from every aspect. We’ve tried our sails in various settings and last but not least, many beautiful photos and footages have been made.


We were ready for the start as much us we could possibly be, although the software brought by Conrad wasn't willing to work under any circumstances, and Péter Perényi was trying hard to do magic with it in the last moments. It works now.


Bang, we started.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to check the weather forecast before leaving, so we entrusted ourselves on Conrad’s meteo-tactician, and he had learned the forecasted conditions thoroughly, and we created our first plan accordingly.


We started in a very light, ambiguous wind, that was slowly building up to be North-Easterly.


By the night, most of the boats had chosen the straight, shortest route to South, while we were heading more easterly outwards, hoping for better winds.


As it was getting darker, the wind got stronger too, we had to figure out our sail-combination in around 25 knots of wind. If we had sailed in the same direction as the others, immediately South, the A3 gennaker would have been the right choice. But we were going east, as close hauled as possible, the reacher seemed better for us.


We were happily racing between 13 and 18 knots towards Ibiza during the whole night. There was only 20 miles left when we saw it is impossible for us to round from the outside because we would have had to head up too close, thus we would have slowed down too much. So we decided to bear away to the West side of the island, where we were so close to the mountains that they took our wind, so we slowed down anyway. We just realized how much we had lost with this, when we saw our position in the morning. We didn’t lose much first, but we lost everything after that.  


In the morning I didn’t want to put the A2 gennaker, as there were strong gusts and big waves. This is due to the lack of training and the missing of the sail crossover chart. This was a mistake too. We hoisted the A3, which we progressed with quite well for a while, but our sheet broke off just at the worst time, thus we lost another hour changing it. The only Spanish boat that was forcing the same easterly route as us, now passed us. It wasn’t only them who passed, but we as well missed the last train. We missed all those winds that would have helped us keep in touch with the fleet. 


Later when the sailing got more serious, we changed the A2 for a code 0 — this was when we saw, our halyard was chewed by the top of the mast, again. We’ve had similar problems before, I thought this was successfully fixed with a polished inox frame . Now we had to fix this one. I pulled Conrad up to the top of the mast to see what caused the problem. We bound the top block a little bit longer, there is nothing else we can do now, maybe this will do too.


On the third day, when the front fleet is already out there on the Atlantic, we are still looking at the Spanish mountains on the Alboran Sea, sitting in total flat-water without wind and we have no idea how we are going to get out of here. According to the forecasts, we of course have some wind and it is absolutely inexplicable why we are not progressing. In reality, there is no wind, the sea is like a mirror, our sails are hanging - actually not for too long … we are constantly changing them, non-stop working as few-minutes-long breezes make fool of us.


Conrad is a young, ambitious skipper, it is hard for him to deal with the situation. I have learned that everything happens for a reason - even if we don’t see it at the moment -, I bear what’s given to us more patiently. 


This is a very long course, we’ve been through an extremely lot of work to be here in the race now.

We just started, there are at least 85-90 days ahead of us, anything is possible.