SUSAK aka SANSIG (vol. 3)
In its origins, the idea behind the Susak race was to sail the course double handed. But seeing there are not as much short handed boats lying around, the race spread to the crews as well. In the first edition of the race (in 2019.) we originally intended to sail double handed, but after detailed weather forecasting, we decided to go in full crew mode. And it paid off, after rounding Susak, jugo slingshot us in second overall, just some 14 minutes behind the first (read more at www.adriatic-atlantic.com/susak-aka-sansig/). Than last year, after a 1 hour pit stop in a dead calm around the island of Zeča, we managed to catch a storm and a nice 7th place overall (www.adriatic- atlantic.com/susak-aka-sansig-vol-1/).
This year it was time to try the original, double handed race mode. So Miran and I delivered the boat from Mali Losinj to Icici 2 days before the race with some nice jugo where we pushed the boat a bit and crash tested our new North Sails sqaure top main. This weapon, one of many in our North Sails inventory, proved to be a record braker for this race. It has 8 more square meters than the original 26 sqm mainsail. The start, as usual, was given on Nov 18th under cloudy skies and super light winds. We unfurled our Code55 and slid over the line in first position.
We manage to go through all the puffs and lulls and reach the Vela vrata gate in second position after the incredible Code-X, one of a kind in the whole Universe, built by the one of a kind in the whole Universe Sandi (find out more at www.code7marine.com). Before the race we visited this boat which is really breathtaking, looks like it was built with tweezers, every single detail is in place and there are no conventional soultions for any system onboard - a true revolutioniary design. But, back to the race.. Code-X is getting smaller and smaller on the horizon towards Susak, the breeze is filling in from the west and all the faster boats are starting to catch us. The Pogo 40S2 "Talanta" passes by around Zeca with the smaller Code and full main, a pretty sight to see in 16-19 kts of wind. Just minutes before, our top mast halyard broke and our Code is in the water. A quick and sweaty recovery, up with the genoa and we continue with the race.
Seeing the other top mast halyard is also pure polyester, we decide to continue with the genoa in order to save the halyard for the gennaker sprint towards Susak. And so it is, after half an hour of genoa sailing, we hoist the big white and start our descent to Susak.
We are passing by Unije and one more boat catches us, a First 45 with the whole Lovrovic family onboard. It is not the only boat fully crewed by a sailing family, the other is just a couple of miles behind, a Bavaria 38 Match with the whole Matulja family onboard. We round Susak around 5PM and start the upwind beat towards Zaglav and Vela Vrata. Njifa is not a racer, especially not upwind. Our tacks are in the 100-105 angle range, it is quite frustrating but we manage to make a few good tactical choices and keep up with the bigger boats around us. Somewhere in the latitude of Lubenice, the before mentioned Matulja family passes by, we just can't keep up. It looks like it is going to be an upwind finish in light tramuntana so we turn on the Webasto and start our shifts. It is nice to have a full pack NKE pilot, a good navigation software on the boat computer, two front windows and of course, the before mentioned Webasto. You can sail the boat from the warm cabin, and go out just every 10 minutes to retrim the sails and the pilot. The Sun is starting to show and we are a mile from the finish line. At first we can't find the finish line, but there are Talanta's navigation lights showing us the way. It looks as they are stuck in a dead calm just a few hundreds of meters away from the finish line.
We try to catch up but in the end, we finish 5th overall (just 30 seconds behind Talanta) and 1st of the doublehanders. A nice result, worthy of a morning beer and a hot meal.
After a day's rest, we meet again for the prize giving dinner where we find out we broke the doublehanded record of the race for 7 minutes. Once again: good.. pretty, pretty, pretty good..