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93 days 22 hours 52 minutes

11.01.2015. Scars and things that go bump in the night – by Conrad Colman

Spirit of Hungary 60′ BWR2015 – Diary from Conrad Colman co-skipper

Scars and things that go bump in the night

Its not just in children’s bedrooms that things go bump in the night apparently. I had spent a long afternoon driving the boat like I have the habit from my previous class of boat… A bottle of water close by, a pocket full of peanuts and hours of surfing entertainment with the big gennaker and one reef in the main. Sadly as night fell the wind increadsed out of the safe range for the sail and we sprang to change it for the small reacher. Nandor and I were talking in the cockpit after the change and in a moment when we were both quiet we heard a soft “dunk” noise. I suggested that we had hit something but we checked the rudders and what we could see of the keel and all was clear. We continued on our way with the smaller sails but struggled all night with the instruments not showing the numbers we would expect. At day break we thought the solution lay in the bigger sails so up again with the big gennaker but the speed did not improve as expected.

Then the lightbulb went off in my head and I remembered the strange noise the night before. I put the GoPro camera under the hull and came up with photos of a huge wad of netting or cloth that was balled up on the leading edge of the keel. We furled the gennaker and turned up into the wind to stop and go backwards, allowing the mass to drift free. Further photos showed that the netting had worn away some of the paint on the keel fin but we were otherwise undamaged.

Not completely however, because in the excitement Nandor slipped when returning to the cockpit and banged his head. When we were on our way again he took off his hat and revealed a bloody gash 3 cm long on the back of his head. In full Emergency Room mode I cut his hair, shaved around the cut then he washed his head with betadine soap, I cleaned the wound with betadine and applied steristrips to hold it closed. I was all ready to put my new suturing skills to work after our medical training session before the start but Nandor thought better of it. Perhaps I put him off by reaching instinctively for my splicing kit with 10cm needles and 1mm dyneema thread!

Now I know that some people can come to resemble their pets in extreme cases, with bearded bedraggled men taking similarly shaggy dogs for their daily walks but this is just craziness. No need for the boat and boat builder to be sporting scars at the same time!