BT Global Challenge - Leg 1 - 28th September


madforsailing.com's diary writer, Conrad Humphreys, gives his account of a serious 24 hours aboard LG FLATRON
madforsailing is following the BT Global Challenge through the diaries of Conrad Humphreys (skipper) and Andy Magrath (crew) aboard LG FLATRON. Andy's account of the first serious gale of the race arrived Wednesday afternoon, and overnight the skipper finally had time to catch us up with his story. Conrad Humphreys, Skipper, LG FLATRON, written late Wednesday, 27th September; "This one definitely did not start with a kiss - more like a smack in the mouth. The last 24 hours have seen us take quite a battering. At 1600 yesterday evening, we were flying the 1.5 oz spinnaker in around 22 knots of breeze. The waves had been building throughout much of the morning and they were propelling LG FLATRON along at a constant 12-13 knots. A powerful down-draught caught LG FLATRON on the hop, and as the spinnaker guy was eased, it suddenly ran uncontrollably all the way out. As the yacht rounded up, Annie Pugh, on the wheel, asked for the mainsheet to be dumped, but it was too late. The spinnaker pole swung forward and crashed into the forestay, snapping like a toothpick. In my bunk, I suddenly twitched - something was not right. I ran up on deck, still wearing no more than my thermal underwear, to see our race spinnaker flogging out of control. There was no time for pleasantries, "Annie, run off to about 160 apparent. Cliff, dump the halyard. Laura, Kester take the lazy sheet and make it off on the coach roof cleat." Cliff dumped the halyard, but with no control over the guy, the spinnaker blew out 50 feet in front of the boat, and hit the water as the boat tried to sail over the top of it. I grabbed the wheel, turned the boat hard into the

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