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93 days 22 hours 52 minutes

Spirit of Hungary’s Gibraltar program – crossed the strait – Fa Nandor’s log – 16-17th Apr. Why Conrad?

SOH welcome in the Med – Time of crossing the longitude of Tarifa 3h20 UTC. GOOD MORNING GIBRALTAR SAILING SCHOOL. HOPEFULLY YOU CAN CATCH THE SPIRIT OF HUNGARY IMOCA 60 FOR A PHOTO again.



Nandor Fa:
“We lost about 3-4 hours because we ran into an area that was full of fishing nets. We caught nets two times, we had to cut ourselves free. We were in serious discussion with the fishermen, who wanted us to pay. We were in an incredible atmosphere, I hope this is not a recurring experience that I’ll ever see again.
We just entered the strait, and are progressing quite well, relatively safe. We’ve gotten close to the Moroccan coast. There is no wind, it’s very light but the current is carrying us with 5 knots.
Just imagine a 20 x 20 miles area full of nets, we couldn’t see a single little corner where there wouldn’t be a bunch of flashing spots. We were trying to avoid them as much as possible, but it was impossible not to run into them. Fortunately at last we found a path out of this jungle. Unbelievable conditions. I don’t want to repeat this, I felt like we would never get out of there. Nets on the rudders, nets on the keel, everywhere.
One of the fishermen said they wouldn’t cut it off until we pay. So we started to cut it ourselves, then they started to approach too. We hoisted our sails to continue and tore the net apart. The other group of fishermen cut their net off themselves and apologized in a way. It was very interesting.”
Where were these fishermen from? What nationality?
“Everyone was Moroccan. They came from Tangier to fish. Only a little bit further from the shipping lanes, conditions are already impossible. The water is so much infected by these nets, you cannot avoid them. There is no space. We are allowed to sail in the shipping zone in the same direction, but not up against. Now we have wind that we can sail quite well with, but in that area we didn’t want to enter the shipping zone yet. That was a mistake. We should have stayed in the shipping zone. Our wind is a very light 3-4 knots north-westerly, but there is a 2-2,5 knots current carrying us. There is no wind, but we have speed. We’ll see how far we get with it.”
What kind of sail adjustments are you sailing with now? In what position is the keel?
“The keel is completely canted to leeward. We have the main and the Code0. The wind is so light, that this slight heeling is good for us now. We can progress without any problem.”
I’m listening with my jaw dropped open, still stuck at these fishing nets. My creativity’s died, I don’t know what to ask…
Fa N.:
“Just imagine millions of little light spots flashing and glinting all around, looking like a christmas tree, and I have not the slightest idea where to go. From time to time they start flashing and come closer to us. Some of them didn’t even care that we were there, not even when we caught their net. Some of them came to us and weren’t helpful at all. So there were horrible conditions there.
There wouldn’t be a problem with all this, if it was a restricted zone and the map would say there’s a fishing zone from here until there, so don’t go there! And then we won’t go there. But nothing on Earth indicated it, you only realize when you suddenly find yourself in the heart of the woods. It was similar to the seaweeds. We’re over it, but we’d wasted a lot of our time.
The ride is not easy, because the wind is very light so far, and hard to use. The current is the only source of progress, carries us reliably. But I don’t want to lose control and let it take us wherever, and we don’t know where exactly. So far, we only have 3-4 knots wind. Impossible to see what to expect. Every time we update the weather forecast, it says something else. In the first 50-80 miles we won’t really have wind, that’s for sure. There might be local breezes at the Spanish coast, we’ll try to go there. We’re going to have to do a masterly work to get out of here.”
Thank you very much, Nandor! Good luck!

One of our favourite picture below taken 1 year ago by ALAN J BENADY AND ANDREA BERKES in the Gibraltar bay. They followed the Hungarian Racing boat when Nandor Fa and Goszleth Marcell started for the Imoca Ocean Masters Trans-Atlantic qualification from La Linea – Gibraltar bay, Spring 2014.


NANDOR FA – log  Apr 17 – WHY CONRAD?

“Before the start of the race, when we used to talk with C quite a lot about our philosophy that we would have to follow in order to manage the upcoming months as humans, we had shortly decided what the right behaviour was to follow.

We didn’t know each other. C walked into my life on the North Cove Marina’s pontoon in New York, out of the blue. Someone introduced us, we talked a little bit, from my side it was more like compulsory politeness. There was a complete picture of him that remained in my head: young, ambitious, based on his appearance it was hard to tell his mental and physical abilities, but he seemed too charming to be capable of big things, nevertheless he had the same name as the luxury hotel where – thanks to the organizers – we stayed at the time: Conrad.

When, a few months later I ended up alone with the intention of participating in the BWR, I went through the list of skippers that I thought could be good co-skippers for me. The list wasn’t too long. I quickly gathered all the phone numbers, the ones I didn’t know I asked from the IMOCA and I sat down next to the phone. This was at 11am, on the very day when I discovered I was all alone. In the first round, I couldn’t reach anyone, then thinking I would continue in the afternoon, I went for lunch. This was when my daughter Lili mentioned C’s name, they were sitting next to each other at the gala dinner in the New York Yacht Club. Coming back from lunch, I did some research, who is he exactly? I was pleasantly disappointed as I saw he had quite a list of results under his belt, he might be much more than what I thought in the first place. There was a 55 – my wife’s lucky number -, and a 77 – my all time sail number – in his phone number. I thought this was a good sign, I called him. He picked up immediately, and after the second sentence, almost without thinking he said yes, you can count on me, if you want I could get on a plane tomorrow to come and help. I thought he was my man, there was no point in searching on. We made our decisions in two minutes.

When the time arrived and I asked C to come and help, he really did come and worked the whole preparation period, and fought the delivery to Barcelona with me. I’ve had the chance to watch his attitude, abilities, experiences, and not least his professional know-how – which cannot be substituted by enthusiasm.

Since we saw each other at the airport in Venezia, we’ve been working together for 5 months now, which is a very long time, and in our case in incredibly intensive cooperation. If anyone, we knew all of our deficiencies, and we knew that we would have needed three more months plus a bucket of money to be prepared, but we wanted to go, very much. Given the situation, we had to define – half joking but actually very seriously – our relationship to each other and to the tasks ahead of us, which did not seem to be a piece of cake.

We painted two words to the wall of the cabin, theoretically: PATIENCE & TOLERANCE, which we’ve constantly seen in front of us, and we’ve managed to respect them the whole time.

The fact that we are here today, less than 30 miles away from Gibraltar, we should largely thank to these two words, and to what they meant for us.

A tanker came against us, but we finally just slipped next to each other in a safe distance. Three hours later, 60 metres ahead of the strait’s entrance, an army of ships appeared suddenly on the display. We owe the pleasure to the North-America — Europe shipping traffic, and I really hope that we can manage among them without any trouble.
When we were just 30 metres before the strait, someone turned off our wind. 3-5 knots from the West, we almost stopped. Something will come along sooner or later, until then we’ll just be standing a little bit.

16th April 2015, 18 40 UT, position: 35° 50,5′ N, 006° 22’ W ”

A Fa Nándor – Conrad Colman duo sailing history by a short gallery.
The  Nándor Fa – Conrad Colman history started about one month before the BWR start.