Spinlock Brand Ambassador Blog Race 7
By Timothy Morgan
After a diversion to Subic Bay in the Philippines due to the Coronavirus outbreak across much of Asia. It was announced that Race 7 would be Race Director Mark's magical mystery tour in a circuit and return to Subic Bay. Perfect conditions to get a lot of training in to avoid the mistakes made on our last race. I was quite apprehensive at the start that a bad atmosphere could again form between crew.
Luckily and as always from the very start, this was a completely different race. Our start out of the bay, saw the fleet hoisting Spinnakers within minutes of crossing the line followed by 24hrs of the best racing I've ever experienced in my somewhat short 'career'. As we headed offshore, the majority of boats were regularly within 5m of each other. One collapsed Spinnaker was all it took to go from 1st to last and vice versa.
Slowly we spread out as different route tactics came into play. The next week would consist of a beat upwind with regular tacks, as the wind seemed to try its best to stop us heading in any direction close to the next course mark. Beating in a boat designed for downwind sailing is not a particularly enjoyable experience, not least due to the huge angle of heel that makes even the simplest tasks energy-sapping. Likewise, the slow boat speeds became rather irritating but didn't knock morale. We found it very amusing that on day 7 of what was advertised as an 8 -10 day race, we rounded the halfway mark having not yet completed 1000 miles. In fact, the whole team learnt our lessons from Race 6 and were much more compassionate to each other; We refused to let small issues ruin our experience and morale was actually flying.
The wind finally veered as we approached the south of Taiwan and for the first time in months we could power up the boat in exactly the conditions she was built for. Everyone who took a stint at the helm came off grinning as we surfed waves downwind at up to 24kts! Unfortunately, this was interrupted by the most impressive Spinnaker wrap we've had to date taking 15 hours to remove and sending us toppling towards the bottom of the leaderboard yet it was all taken in good spirits.
Our arrival back into Subic Bay could not have been more different from the last time with cheers all round and a good welcome from the Leg 6 crew who would be joining next race. As someone said upon our departing when you want to quit remember why you signed up. This is what I'm here for, amazing sailing with amazing people and I'm so glad I continue on this adventure.