25th September 2021
Funchal, Madeira – Rubicon, Lanzarote, Canaries
There are many ways to win a race. You can equip yourself with the best paraphernalia, you can train unendingly and you can use your innate skill to edge in front of your competitors or you can start before them and cheat! Sailing to Lanzarote we had a race on our hands and knowing that we’d not be able to overtake Nick, Sophie, and the supercool Billy & Rory (on Quickstep Too), that they’d raced harder miles than us and they had a better innate sailing skill, we had to cheat.
While Quickstep Too still slept and with the sun still behind the towering cliffs of Madeira, we won the start and flew past the aptly name Islas Desertas. We had the head start we needed, but would Quickstep Too be able to hunt us down before our mid ocean pitstop of the Salvagen Islands?
Ruffian romped along with waves crashing over the bow and cascading down the headsail, and we adopted our usual, ‘facing backwards; reading books’ posture. The autopilot pointed us in the right direction, surfed down the waves and basically outclassed us in every way.
As day turned to night which turned to dawn the Salvage Islands appeared over the horizon and the VHF sparked into life. Quickstep Too was calling the island and we’d lost the first part of the race. Braving the white water they entered the ‘harbour’, found a mooring and starting rolling from gunnel to gunnel*.
Coming in as first loser we realised just how brave Quickstep Too were. Foaming white water broke over sharp rocks on all sides and the swell crashed into the cliffs echoing across the bay. There was however another ‘safe mooring’, but this sat in foaming white water, mere inches from rocks and was way above our braveness quotient. After entering with our tail between our legs, we turned tail and headed out to sea, but we’d once again took the lead in our unofficial race (although some would say this is cheating).
Heading south the sea had turned flat and gone were the high speeds with its cascading water. Sleep came easily and things were so quiet that we barely knew we were moving. Knowing that Quickstep Too had traded their lead for a day of scaring mooring, swimming and swelly landings we were happy in our lead allowing us to potter along at whatever speed the wind would allow.
As dawn broke the other worldly landscape of volcanoes on Lanzarote were silhouetted on the horizon and once again, we’d ventured offshore, made memories that’ll last a lifetime and most importantly won our race by starting early and cheating.
*Quite an achievement on a 40ft catamaran.
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