Hare playing catch-up

Pip Hare
Pip Hare
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Pip Hare restarted the Mini Transat today determined not to repeat the mistake which marred her strong start to the race.

The Warsash yachtswoman spent much of the first leg of the race from Fort Boyard, near La Rochelle, to Madeira in the top 10 of the highly-competitive fleet of 21-foot long racing yachts.

On the route through Biscay and down towards the Atlantic island group she had kept in touch with the leaders aboard her boat The Potting Shed.

But after a long stint without sleep, handsteering through lumpy seas and tracing an electrical fault which was disrupting her wind instruments, she made a decision which cost her dear.

‘I had been awake for around 26 hours – I was tired and not thinking straight,’ said Hare, aged 37, after completing the 10-day leg in Madeira.

‘I made a tactical decision to go east and I followed it which lost me 20 places in the fleet.

‘My mistake was to make a big decision like this when tired.

‘I should have known better but I did it anyway and it cost me.

‘I did spend about half a day beating myself up, a few tears were shed and general anger flowed around the boat.

‘But as night follows day, so every tantrum must end and after waking up in 35th place I set my new goals to catch up.’

Hare, who used her life savings to fund her Mini Transat campaign, managed to haul herself back up to 29th place in the 45-strong production boat class by the finish – no disgrace but a huge blow after her early showing.

And the upwind conditions after rounding Cape Finnisterre were not exactly a picnic either.

‘Beating in a mini is just not fun,’ she said.

‘It is brutal; like riding a bucking bronco endlessly, all day and all night.

‘The boat must be well stacked with all of your kit and water on the high side of the boat, giving you maximum righting moment.

‘This is a back-breaking job and one I particularly hate.

‘With little moonlight to show us the path, night time in breeze was violent, the boat seemed to be careering through waves at breakneck speed.

‘Then suddenly halted with a shuddering explosion as it crashed into an unseen wave.’

But at least during the final three days of the leg she had a foretaste of what the current 3,100 mile stage to Salvador de Bahai in Brazil might hold – big breeze, and from the right direction.

As she described in her blog: ‘Beautiful, brilliant downwind sailing, surfing waves, changing between kites in squalls.

‘Dolphins alongside the boat and the absolute joy and pleasure of steering and trimming to gain every ounce of speed in these conditions.

‘If this is the second leg then bring it on!’