This has been my worst race to date. It all started badly as there was no wind and we were towed out of the marina. Some boats were towed almost to the start, but my group were dropped off just outside the harbour. They started the start sequence anyway and I could not get to a good position in time for the start, so I had to take the only option available and start buried deep at the wrong end of the line.
There was a long beat out of the bay of Douarnenez, I sailed hard, but it is hard to get a good line when you are so deep in the pack. I got back a few positions but rounded the Raz in the back half of the fleet.
Now it was downwind and my time to shine, I got up the big kite and started to pick off the boats around me quickly, unfortunately the top guys were already out in front by this stage. I sailed hard all night in light downwind conditions and rounded the bottom mark in a respectable position, top 1/3.
I though if I could sail that hard upwind back to Douranenez I could still be in contention. Then things really feel apart; I was in the groove and sailing well. I went down below to do some tidal nav, when I herd a soft bumping noise. I grabbed a knife and sighed because I knew exactly what it was, a fishing buoy was around the keel! I managed to work the boat off but still lost 15minutes and a few places.
Then came the real drama, the NKE instruments started jumping and doing funny things. I had a lot of electronics on, and then I smelt burning. I went down below to the thickest smoke I have ever seen, you couldn’t see through the interior at all, and it’s on 21ft. I went down to try and find the fault but it was to smoky and very toxic. I got the extinguisher to hand because it seemed thick enough that it could ignite.
I turned off all the electronics and sailed with just the tail tails and compass, it was fine but not practical for 24 hours. After an hour or so I turned the pilot on so I could try and find the problem. Before I could find the source there was smoke again and the pilot couldn’t drive the boat because of the dancing numbers.
I wanted to go inside the Ile de Glenan but without electronics and pilot decided it was too dangerous, there front was coming and so I went outside the longer but safer option. Then came the wind, slamming in 25 knots, beating round the Islands. Through the night I ran on minimum power and kept the boat going. I passed the Raz just in time before the change of tide and sailed back down the bay downwind.
I arrived in after the boats I had been around before the Glenan’s split; they had taken an hour or so out of my time. But I still arrived back only a few hours after the winners, so I’m happy considering the dramas.