The team competed in the RORC Channel Race on the weekend of 27th – 28th July after training and racing mostly on small boats and training on the Volvo60. The Volvo60 received a new mainsail and the boat and team were fit and ready to have their final test before the actual Fastnet.
3 boats participated in the IRC Z class and the third position was the final result. Although last in class, the team was not too far behind the professional sailors in their first race ever. Two learning points which can be tackled in the actual Fastnet: The first one was missing a mark by very swift steering but not 100% aligned boat handling in sail trimming, while arriving in a wind free spot, with current pressing backwards. It was frustrating to see the competition walk away at that time.
After the upwind mark was tackled, it became darker, slightly rainy, but on a fast downwind beat with the spinnaker pushing the boat to 12 knots. Some jibing was deliberately chosen to continue to profit as much from the wind and current as possible. We made good gains from this, taking back much of the loss from the mark-rounding mistake, giving hope.
The second learning factor was how to reef the new mainsail. On purpose the team wanted this final opportunity to know before the actual Fastnet race itself, to figure out the reefing system under pressure soon before the finish. This took some time, but was not disastrous since we did stay in the same position.
Overall we operated very well as one team on the Team Heiner One and were satisfied with the finish time of 13 hours and approximately 25 minutes. All of us were able to be on deck and make sure that the required tasks were taken care of. Team spirit is increasing that extra step with some key individuals being in the right place at the right time.
We have done our preparations and should be ready for the Fastnet. We understand that the 3rd and 4th day will have much impact on the result and this is something we will need to experience together!