A story already written ... at least some parts!
In a mini 6.50 campaign some things can be taken for granted: the first of course is that the reports, the videos, the posts ... will arrive late! This post, in fact, is proof of this.
The second, and it was certainly a very well learned lesson at ARCI 6.50 2021, is that miles of preparation matter.
But let's go in order: we left at the beginning of December with a boat on the trailer, waiting to be discovered. Since then we have decided to work behind the scenes to prepare the regattas of the Italian Championship.
So far, this crazy 2021 is looking a lot like the continuation of 2020 and it has not been easy to dedicate all the time available to work first at the shipyard, then in the water for the first tests, then back to the shipyard to set up and prepare the new mast , then briefly back in the water before finally returning to the shipyard to disassemble the boat, put it back on the trailer and take it to the first regatta of the season.
All the Christmas holidays were spent on board assembling and overhauling the electrical and electronic systems and re-creating the ballast circuit, the months of January and February then flew by designing, preparing and installing the new mast.
When we lined up at the start of the ARCI 650 we had therefore accumulated very few hours of navigation and all with fair weather. Fortunately, this edition of the regatta between the islands of the Tuscan archipelago, hosted by the Punta Ala Yacht Club, started with mild conditions that allowed us to "pick up the pace". Our stated goal was to finish the regatta smoothly but, you know, you cannot ask a racing boat to go slow, nor to two racers, so we rounded Scoglio dello Sparviero and Giannutri, the first two buoys of the course, in the leading group.
On the long edge between Giannutri and the island of Elba, however, a reinforcement of the wind led us to bend one of the aluminum arms that hold the bowsprit open. Night had just fallen and for this reason we did not want to force until dawn to assess any damage done, this made the bulk of the fleet reached us.
With a little luck and a bit of experience we managed to get around Monte Capanne, the fearsome western end of the island, always with wind and at speed. A direct way then took us to Capraia which we approached at dawn and shot in the early morning.
Here began a close-hauled phase with a strong wind, interspersed with a 5-hour calm that saw us dangle in the late afternoon until sunset, which took us to the finish. An error in choosing the route in the Piombino Channel and (once again) a lot of inexperience in managing the boat in strong winds have taken away from us some positions that we had regained during the day but ... it was important to cross the finish line and with a little relief we did it.
A third position in the category gave us the smile that could only come after finishing a fast but not easy race on a boat we are getting to know during the season.
Now we are in Genoa where we arrived after a quick transfer illuminated by a magnificent moon and a good trade wind. This route was also a great workout and (aside from bending the other aluminum arm, LOL) it served to test autopilot in particular.
This Easter weekend we were able to work on the boat to repair some damage and continue with the work that we had planned, as well as some improvements and modifications that we thought of during the past sailings.
The next regatta is the Italian Grand Prix which starts from Genoa and winds its way through Corsica, Sardinia and the Tuscan archipelago. It starts on Saturday 10 April ... will we be ready?
Another certainty: you are NEVER really ready. That's why we like this sport!