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"We caught a third storm which was the most impressive. With huge waves."

robin marais


Robin Marais (Esprit Scout) recounts his race

No disasters, fortunately, but lots of little technical problems. When you put them all together, you end up with a near catastrophe. It can quickly become complicated when you're on your own. The first low we encountered was the deepest and widest. It wasn't necessarily the hardest, as it was downwind. Edouard and I found ourselves in it together. There were gusts of over 45 knots, and even over 50 knots. We were surfing at over 20 knots. After that, we wondered whether we should take a route close to the great circle route (the shortest, editor's note), or do as Louis did and head south on a more conservative trajectory. Edouard and I battled it out throughout the race. We kind of encouraged each other to go north, and that was a mistake. That's when the trouble started. I lost the aerial as well as the VHF antenna, which meant that I no longer had an AIS, which is crucial when you're sailing solo. We hit a third storm, which was the most impressive. With huge waves.

It was a constant battle with Edouard. Until then, I didn't know the position of the other boats. It was Edouard who told me on the VHF that they were 30 miles to our north. That's when I knew we were in the game.

This morning, I was disappointed to be fifth. When I saw New York, I felt much better. It's a project that started a month and a half before the start. We had to qualify, find the money and cobble things together. It's already a great victory to be here and to be fifth.