We are still here in the campground at the start. Why havent we left yet?.....
After a test sail from the campground to the beach we had some issues. My mom (and crew) was not encouraged by her first trip out in 15-18knot headwinds and it was not the way I wanted to introduce her to the boat. On top of that the rudder downhaul was not worked out well, the jib sheeting was not good, roller reefing the jib was difficult and the waterstays slackeded under load and became too long to lash properly. All this meant that we had a hard time on our first time out in very tough chopy conditions. Oh and the boat leaked badly through the waterstay holes that I haden't checked for leaks and didn't show themselves in our 30 min test sail in Vandemere.
We decided that this was not acceptable or safe sooo. we didn't start at the start. And instead called a weather hold for ourselves. This decision may have been our best yet seeing that many of the challengers (many elders) have already dropped from the race or had breakdowns battling the 20 knot headwinds on Saturday. Today (sunday) there was a massive front that came trough at 5am and collapsed our tent in the campground. I suddently realized that I had not staked down the boat on the beach and was sure that that was then end of our mast and positive that the front had blown the boat over on the beach. We rushed to the beach and found her sitting just as we had left her (thank god). Another triber who had returned to the beach in a canoe had left his boat next to ours had his boat spun 180 degrees in the sand by the wind. Bullet dodged.
Today the wind is NNW and 25 to gale force with very big seas so we are not going today either. Rather we will leave early tomorrow morning in very cold (47) temps but with managable and favorable winds such that we will make gasparilla pass (the entrance to CP1) after sun up. It is really tough to sit on the beach knowing the race has already started but with only challengers at CP1 so far and gale force winds for most of the day today we have little doubt that it is still anyones race and that we are making good decisions.
We used yesterday to work on the boat and needed ALL of it. Today we will spend pushing the boat in the water to test for leaks and to practice dropping the mast on the water (while anchored to the beach) and then to go for a short test sail in Tampa bay sometime this afternoon. We have had to be careful not to receive any help from our shore contact (my dad) Paul who is here with us and is no longer allowed to help us with the boat in any way.
Changes made to the boat:
-sealed all waterstays and forestay chainplate (NO MORE LEAKS!)
-Improved the rudder downhaul system.
-Returned to classic and reliable 2:1 jib sheeting.
-upgraded to a 2:1 jib furling system (much better)
-improved the mast rotation controls
-shortened the waterstay splices to propperly tension the rig