This time last year was quite a different story. Mia was back in Sweden still, and I was reeling from the failure of our first two legs of 2016. We were meant to go from BVI-Grenada on Leg 1, only to make it halfway there (in similar, rough & windy conditions) when the roller-furler jammed and failed, forcing us to turn back. Then the mainsail split down the middle from luff to leech on the way back. We limped back to Tortola were we’d come from two days earlier, my pride wounded and the boat in need of repair.
As a testament to our awesome crew, everyone changed their flights and plans, and we improvised a leg 2 from BVI-Antigua, rather than Grenada-BVI as was the original plan. It required changing flights and spending more money for the crew, but to a person they were supportive.
I was an emotional wreck when the damage all started, and Mia was doing her best to keep me cool from afar. I came through in the end, having a new furling unit shipped over from Miami in time so that Clint, Ryan & I cold build it on the lawn at Nanny Cay Marina and have the boat back together before the Leg 2 crew arrived. Our sailmaker rallied and got our new mainsail complete and shipped from South Africa to St. Maarten, and I had the torn one repaired enough in Tortola to get us there.
Then, during the Caribbean 600, we had to abandon the race due to a failed rudder bearing. Three trips, three failures, right off the bat! That got sorted out - we didn’t have a choice really - while Mia and I spent three weeks living shoreside in an apartment in Antigua and making the best of it.
The point it, was a different spot we’re in now! Back in Antigua and getting ready to race again in the 600, Isbjorn in better shape than she’s likely ever been in. I don’t want to get too confident because who knows what can happen, but I’m feeling good. The boat’s got all new sails, the rudder’s been repaired and strengthened, I’m a lot more comfortable and confident in the boat now after another 10,000 miles on her last year, and it feels like a good start to 2017.
Stay tuned and we’ll see where we go from here!