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Less than 24 hours to go until Maiden sets sail in the RORC Caribbean 600!

A blog post by Maiden Skipper Liz Wardley. All images ©The Maiden Factor/Amalia Infante .

It’s been a busy 2 weeks since the crew got back to Maiden. During that time, we have been getting the boat into race trim, measuring the boat for IRC and CSA rating and more recently have been joined by our four guests that will race the Caribbean 600 with us starting on Monday!

The last couple of days have been spent training, getting everyone up to speed with the boat and each other.

Safety drills kicked off the day for the Maiden crew and guests, such as Man Overboard, abandon ship, etc.  We toured through the boat and then eased into a bit of sailing in 25 knots!  Then Maiden headed offshore from Nelson Dockyard and bashed upwind for a while. We did some reefing and tacking and then bore away, deployed the symmetric spinnaker and got into some gybing.  The first dip pole gybe is always exciting with a crew of 9 people who have never sailed together before. There is a lot of things that must happen simultaneously – but the crew nailed it!!

After a few gybes and a great drop, we hoisted the jib and headed back upwind. The team were split into their watches and got into a few ‘shorthanded’ reefs to simulate what it will be like when half the crew are sleeping.  

I then went down below and tied a colourful cloth onto a fender with a bucket as a drogue. I came upstairs and threw it overboard to simulate a Man Overboard.  We then jumped into our ‘inshore’ positions. I grabbed the helm and set off the MOB alarms and waypoints, Belle jumped down below and got into her rescue swimmer equipment. 10 minutes later we had maneuvered the boat to weather of the ‘victim’, got Belle in the water and successfully retrieved the poor fender! A job well done.

We were then joined by Esprit de Corps, an old Volvo 60. We did some upwind and reaching speed tests and got some great images.  It was fun to have 2 generations of these boats sailing side by side.

This was all finished by a debrief, a ‘not too long’ job list and a plan for the following day (which was pretty much more of the same).

We are happy that the boat and crew are ready and we are eager to get out there racing!