The first night was a sleepless one for most of us on PUMA’s Mar Mostro, and I would have to assume it’s a similar story for the five other teams out here. A strong Mediterranean Mistral made for rough but exciting sailing conditions and a violent life onboard. I found myself airborne on more than a few occasions, and once with a bucket full of bailed water (I then joined it, in the bilge).
At daybreak (I thought it would never come) we found ourselves in sight of Palma and several other competitors. It was a quick downwind exit after a scenic harbor-front lap, and we blasted towards Alicante doing 20 knots, waving goodbye to the Spanish spectators who had come to see the early action.
Then came the emergency rudder drill. At 8:45 GMT we had to install—and use—an emergency rudder and tiller for 30 minutes. Fortunately there was no drama and things went on and off without a hitch (no pun intended). On we went into the emerging vacuum of light winds and leftover swell, where we sat for the majority of the day. Now it’s night again, and thankfully a beautiful one at that—I have already forgotten last night’s troubles—and we’re cruising along upwind at 12 knots headed for PUMA Ocean Racing’s compound in Alicante where the boat will be pulled apart again before the In-Port racing starts on October 29.