Payback, SAS vol. 2

1. 9. 2022
Uroš Kraševac


This is the second part of my experience at the Les Sables – Azores – Les Sables regatta. 

We used the five days at Horta to lick our wounds, explore the island, enjoy the low prices of beer and food while soaking up the fact that we are “in the middle of nothing” somewhere in the Atlantic. The rest of the time we spent repairing and “tinkering around” on the boats. Minis are durable boats, but there was not one that did not need some attention. I was one of those lucky ones with a short task list. Changing the connector of the GPS antenna and the alarm switch (for waking up), sealing the ballast pipes, fixing the wind wane, greasing the rudder bearings, repairing the lights and exchanging a couple of halyards. Mainly little things. It was a bad idea for me to clean the underwater part of the boat on the last day before the start. The growth was negligible, but while diving, I noticed a crack in the junction of the keel bulb and the keel. I couldn’t do anything about it on the last day, but it remained hanging at the back of my mind. During the 10 days of sailing back to France, I imagined too many times what it would be like if I were suddenly to lose the bulb.

One of the major problems of my stay in Horta was the accommodation. After my long season of sleeping in the van and the first leg of the regatta from Les Sables to the Azores, I would give my soul for a proper bed. But since I qualified for the regatta at the last moment, Horta no longer offered lodging options. I was condemned to sleep in the Mini. Jean (thanks again!) gave me his Maxi for this purpose, whose interior, compared to my Ashika II, resembles a small Gothic church. But a boat being a boat was still not the most suitable for my height and weight.


The day of the start was opened by nervous calls from meteorologists, who were communicating completely new forecasts and routings. But not my Jure. I am new to offshore sailing. I dealt with dilemmas about the amount of water, food, packaging systems for clothing, equipment, navigation aids, operation of the instruments and so on. Jure’s confidence about the forecast and the route was a real balm for my racing mind. “I’m going north, along a longer route without fighting upwind and waiting for the front from the north, as simple as that.” Right before the start, when the first boats were already leaving the marina, I sat on the pier and watched the nervousness of the other sailors with a healthy amount of satisfaction. 

“I’m ready. I don’t feel the pressure. I’m in the second leg of my first real offshore regatta, and I’m attacking from fourth place. I’m just a little worried about my sore back and that crack on the keel. We have, what we have, we are where we are, now action. I just switched the “crocs” from the casual mode to the action mode: swing the straps from the front shoe into the position around the heels and push off from the pier.

I got off to a great start and sailed off as first at the head of a still pretty compact group. Only my wind direction sensor decided that everything on the boat just cannot be operational and ended the season prematurely. A big problem for me. I could count this year’s training sessions on the fingers of one hand, so I relied heavily on the instruments and the sail chart I got from the previous owner to help me decide on which sails to use. Okay, even using this spreadsheet was a challenge since I didn’t have two sails on it. All I was left with was my gut feeling.


A large anticyclone reigned between us and the finish line – an area of high air pressure. Sailors avoid these as they are large fields without wind. Around the anticyclones, air masses circulate clockwise, a phenomenon called wind. That’s why we had to make a big tactical decision already on the second day. Sail along a more direct route, south of the anticyclone, but sail against the wind or take a northerly, longer route with more favourable winds. I chose the northern route. Only this one had an additional problem. Uncle Anticyclone showed no tendency to retreat, and if one wanted to sail it around it, one would have to sail almost to the English Channel. But “expert” Jure predicted a front from the north on the 5th or 6th day, which would blow a passage to the finish line at just the right time. It quickly became clear that sailors made quite different decisions, we split up, and by the second evening, I was completely alone. Not only alone but, because of my detour, also in last place. We received the weather forecast from the organiser every day at 3 pm and our ranking according to the distance from the finish line at 9 am. I didn’t know the position of my fellow competitors, and it was quite possible that I was going into the North Atlantic, in a 6-and-a-half meter shell, with a crack in the keel, all by myself. 

But the days passed, and I didn’t have much reason to complain. I was accompanied by the sun, constant wind, dry nights and the moon just before it got full. I stuck to the fair wind lane. If the wind died down, I knew I was getting too close to the anticyclone and corrected further north. I have solved the dilemma about the best combination of sails several times simply by experimenting. Not the most economical way, but it helped to “kill” time and saved me from constantly thinking about whether or if I was fast enough and if I could be faster.

Meanwhile, I admired the ocean life. I met flying fish, Portuguese men o’ wars, whales, a shark, and a couple of turtles and admired the abundance of luminous plankton at night. While breaking the waves, I caught a squid and a couple of Portuguese men o’ war in the boat. And since then, I have always checked where I sit. I wouldn’t want to rest my naked thighs on the purple stingers of these jellyfish. The dolphins, however, provided me with an almost constant escort.

To this day, I still like to relive the impression left by the 360-degree horizon drawn by the ocean without any interruption. I spent the time in a sort of trance, and the effects of prolonged solitude and irregular sleep manifested themselves only in occasional strange thoughts. One such was my disagreement with humans that dolphins are intelligent creatures. “They are only swimming! They can’t even give a simple weather forecast.” One day, I was listening to an English round table on Single Side Band Radio on the topic “What’s the hardest thing about cooking.” After a rather boring conversation, they concluded that the biggest horror is the kitchen’s state after cooking and the following cleaning. I felt as if I had outwitted half the world when I threw away (not in the ocean of course) the empty bag of dehydrated food feast that you just mix with boiling water and licked the spoon before putting it away. “TA-DA, my friends, here is a solution for you.” The fact that this was my fourth bag of Pasta Primavera in a couple of days didn’t bother me too much. Since my preparations at Les Sables were in my “last second” style, I jumped at the chance when Liza offered me 40 packets of dehydrated food that she had left over. As a result, only the pallet was slightly reduced. And this “primavera” clearly did go with her taste well. Quite understandable.

On the fifth day after the start, while listening to the forecast, I received bad news. The front that is supposed to chase away the high-pressure fellow will stop about 100 miles west of me. I found myself high in the north, cut off from my destination by a long line of no wind in no hurry to disappear. I had two options. Either I stick with the favourable wind to the north, see Ireland and hope for offshore winds, or try to fight through the no wind zone. I decided to visit Ireland at another time and chose Wednesday evening for the crossing, when, according to the forecast, the anticyclone should stretch all the way to Scandinavia. In preparation, I accumulated as many of my 20-minute naps as possible and turned south well-rested. This meant I was able to stay awake throughout the passage and catch every little breath of wind. This time, too, the direction was not towards the finish but much further south. So I crossed the no-wind zone at as right an angle as possible. I prepared myself for the worst scenario when I would languish in no wind for several days while being attacked by swarms of gnats and suffocated by the day’s heat. But after a night and a day of chasing weak gusts of wind from all directions, a solid northeastern and falling air pressure let me know I was on the other side. I spent the next night in the company of 13 knots of wind, a full moon and stupid dolphins.


We slowly made our way back to the Bay of Biscay. Well, at least that’s what the map said. The scene remained the same except for the clouds that hinted at a pair of cyclones heralding a giant slalom to the finish line. The wind steadily picked up, and soon my autopilot could no longer keep up with the pace of the boat under the large spinnaker. Since my wind sensor was on strike, I could only use it in compass mode. After switching on wind mode, the third or fourth wave already threw it off the track, and if I didn’t take the rudder fast enough, the boat ended up in a happy uncontrolled turn into the wind – in a “straorcada” [Ed. name used for broach in the Adriatic region]. So I stayed on the helm all the time in an attractive plane and did not actively deal with the question of what would happen when I had to sleep. At the same time, I was dealing with the dilemma of when to replace the large spinnaker with a small one. Experiments in these conditions were no longer a good idea. Normally I would set a limit of around 25 knots of wind, but without instruments, it was difficult to gauge the wind accurately enough. When the wind definitely exceeded this limit, I started changing the sails a few times, but for that, I needed the autopilot, at least for a short time. The action was always postponed by a gust of wind or a particularly high wave. I was also quite tired. That’s when the boat provided some extra motivation. With a loud bang and the sound of fibres tearing, the foresail rolled strangely. I replaced it in the blink of an eye. But even now, the autopilot couldn’t follow what was happening. I sat behind the rudder and thought. It was clear to me that something had happened with the fixation of the bowsprit. And also that for the repair, it would have to be completely stationary and probably even in water. And even then, I had little chance of successfully fixing the problem. I continued my fairly active sailing and dabbled in my new job. Pushing the thought of when the attachment will finally loosen, and my sail will turn into a large flag with a three-meter carbon tube wrapped around the end of it.


The miles went by quickly, but I had been holding on to the rudder for far too long. But listening to the radio, I was still at the very top of the fleet, but I could not listen to the last day of broadcasting. I do have a portable radio, but my cockpit turned into an aquarium every third wave and just controlling the boat was too much work. So I could only hope that I was “pushing” the boat enough and continued to fight with sleep. I occupied my mind by writing a longer nursery rhyme for my nephew. He was born on the day I left for France on my Mini Adventure, and he is now almost 4 months old, but I haven’t had the chance to meet him yet. The method initially proved to be quite effective. But even though I repeated the song so much that I will probably know it by heart forever, I soon started to wobble on the tiller. Sometimes only for a wave or two and without serious consequences, but soon for long enough that in my “absence”, the boat ran away from the wind in that happy manoeuvre we call “Chinese jibe”. The sails hit the other side and stuck to the mast. My canting keel was in the wrong position, and in the middle of the night, I found myself in a boat lying on the water with the mast horizontal and the sails in the water. I managed to lower the sails and raise the keel. But in my condition, the manoeuvre took a lot of time and practically all my energy. When I managed to “start” the boat again, I was awake as a little owl and wet as a mouse [Ed. this sound so much better in the original Slovene].

As the morning progressed, the wind abated a bit. But a long stretched line on the horizon predicted land. Now I had to make a lot of effort to convince myself that the finish was still not close enough and that wind drop should be used to get at least a little sleep. Well done me, because, after less than an hour, the wind started to pick up again. But a short break was enough. I pushed the boat again, dealing with a new thought: “Where are the others?” Almost two days have passed since the last time I heard the “ranking” on the radio. In the Bay of Biscay, over which we were scattered, two cyclones were driving the wind, and the conditions were quite changeable. I didn’t know the boat well enough to know if I was fast. The land was now getting closer slower. Partly because the wind was dropping again but mostly because of the incoming tide, which was quickly emptying the bay, and I was fighting against the strong current. Individual buildings of Les Sables d’Olonne came into view, the slower I crawled towards the finish line. And just as I wondered if it would be necessary to anchor again right before the finish line, I managed to sail into the bay and through the finish line.


Screaming from the escort boat, the origin of which, due to the obvious similarity, was not difficult to estimate. She was Liza’s mother, and I realised that even though I had never met her. The men from the support boat told me that I was the third to arrive. It is difficult for me to write about waves of happiness and emotions. Yes, I was happy. I achieved a very nice success, especially for the first season and the first offshore regatta. But I was simply too tired for more than a little joy. I felt like an outside observer. “Mom, mom, we’re where we are, BEEEED!” First, I was awakened from my trance by another shout from the rubber boat. The finish line was quite close to the city beach, and the water was shallow. I had to hurry to put away the sails if I didn’t want to finish the regatta parked among the beach goers.

On the shore, I again thanked the keel and the bowsprit attachment, which I could now see hanging on a couple of carbon fibres, for holding on. Ursula dispelled the last doubts that she was Liza’s mother. She was waiting for me with a cold beer. Of course, after two beers, I was completely out, and I had just met the poor woman, but she had already heard my whole life story with all my plans for the future. Many people ask me what the first thing I did when I got back was. “I drank a beer”. Please don’t ask me what else it was. “Drank another beer and bored one awesome woman to death”. The third was the shower, and the fourth was my bed in the van. Definitely, the best bed the world has ever seen.

Povračilo, SAS vol. 2


To je drugi del moje izkušnje na regati Les Sables – Azori – Les Sables. 

Pet dni na Horti smo izkoristili za lizanje ran. Krajšemu raziskovanju otoka, izkoriščanju nizkih cen piva in hrane ter upijanju dejstva, da smo »usred ništa« sredi Atlantika. Predvsem pa popravilom in »prčkanjem« na barkah… Miniji so trpežne barke, a ga ni bilo junaka, ki ne bi imel dela z odpravljanjem manjše škode ali reševanjem težav.. Sam sem bil med tistimi srečneži z manj popravili. Menjava konektorja GPS antene in stikala alarma (za bujenje), silikoniranje cevi balastov, fiksiranje vetrnice, podmazovanje ležajev krmil, popravilo luči in menjava par dvižnic.V glavnem malenkosti. To da sem se zadnji dan pred startom lotil tudi čiščenja podvodnega dela je bila slaba ideja. Morskega življenja se je nabralo zanemarljivo malo, sem pa med potapljanjem opazil razpoko na spoju bulba kobilice. Zadnji dan glede  tega nisem mogel narediti nič, sem pa potem mnogokrat pomislil nanjo. Med 10 dnevi jadranja nazaj proti Franciji sem  si par krat zamišljal scenarij, kako bi bilo, če bi kar naenkrat ostal brez bulba.

Eden večjih problemov mojega bivanja na Horti je bila nastanitev. Po moji dolgi sezoni spanja v kombiju in prvi etapi regate iz Les Sablesa do Azorov, bi mi ena dobra postelja »dušo dala«. A ker sem se za regato kvalificiral zadnji hip, Horta pač ni več ponujala možnosti prenočišča. Bil sem obsojen na spanje v Miniju. Jean (hvala še enkrat!) mi je v ta namen odstopil svojega Maxija, katerega notranjost, v primerjavi z mojo Ashiko II, spominja na manjšo gotsko cerkev. A tudi ta ni bil najuvidevnejši do moje višine in teže.



Dan starta so otvorili nervozni klici meteorologov, ki so v glavnem javljali povsem nove napovedi in rute. A ne moj Jure. Sem nov v offshore vodah. Ukvarjal sem se z dilemami glede količine vode, hrane; sistemom pakiranja oblačil, opreme, navigacijskih pripomočkov; delovanja instrumentov. Juretova odločnost glede napovedi in rute je bila pravi balzam. »Grem na sever, po daljši ruti brez nabijanja v veter in čakam fronto s severa« »As simple as that.« Tik pred štartom, ko so prve barke že zapuščale marino sem sedel na pomolu in z zdravo mero zadovoljstva spremljal nervozo ostalih jadralcev.

»Sem pripravljen. Pritiska ne čutim. Sem pred drugo etapo svoje prve prave offshore regate in napadam iz četrtega mesta. Malo me skrbi le razbolel hrbet in tista razpoka na kobilici. Mamo kar mamo, smo kjer smo, akcija. Le še »krokse« dam iz ležerne funkcije v funkcijo akcije: paščke dam iz nartov za pete in odrinem od pomola.

Startal sem super in prvi dan odjadral na čelu za zdaj še precej strjene grupe. Le moj senzor za smer vetra se je odločil, da vse na barki pač ne more delovati in predčasno zaključil sezono. Zame kar velik problem. Letošnje treninge bi lahko naštel na prste ene roke in sem se zato pri izbiri jadr precej zanašal na instrumente in na tabelo jadr, ki sem jo dobil od prejšnje lastnice. Dobro, tudi uporaba te tabele je bil svojevrsten izziv, saj dveh jadr nisem imel. Zdaj mi je preostal le še občutek.



Med nami in ciljem je kraljeval velik anticiklon- območje visokega zračnega tlaka. Jadralci se teh izogibamo saj so velika polja brezvetrja. Okoli anticiklonov v smeri urinega kazalca krožijo zračne mase, ali po domače veter. Zato smo jadralci morali že drugi dan sprejeti odločitev. Jadrati po direktnejši poti, južno od anticiklona a jadrati proti vetru ali ubrati severno, daljšo pot z ugodnejšimi vetrovi. Izbral sem severno pot. Le ta pa je imela dodaten problem. Stric anticiklon ni kazal nobene težnje po umikanju in če bi ga želel povsem objadrati bi moral skoraj do Angleškega kanala. A »majster« Jure je v času 5.-6. dne napovedal fronto s severa, ki mi bo ravno pravi čas prepihala prehod proti cilju. Hitro je bilo jasno, da smo se odločili precej različno, se razkropili in že drugi večer sem ostal povsem sam. Ne le sam ampak, zaradi mojega ovinka, tudi na zadnjem mestu. Od organizatorja smo vsak dan ob 15. uri prejemali vremensko napoved in naš vrstni red glede na oddaljenost od cilja ob 9. uri zjutraj. Tako nisem vedel položaja mojih sotekmovalcev in bilo je povsem mogoče, da se v severni Atlantik, v 6 in pol metrski lupini, z razpoko v kobilici, podajam čisto sam. 

A dnevi so minevali in nisem imel kaj dosti razlogov za negodovanje. Spremljalo me je sonce, konstanten veter, suhe noči in luna, tik pred svojo polno obilnostjo. Držal sem se pasu dobrega vetra. Če je veter jenjal, sem vedel da se preveč bližam anticiklonu in se držal severneje. Dilemo o najboljši kombinaciji jader sem večkrat reševal preprosto s poizkusi. Ne najbolj ekonomičen način, a je pomagal »zabiti« čas in me rešil tistega stalnega premišljanja ali sem dovolj hiter in bi lahko bil hitrejši. Vmes pa sem občudoval oceansko življenje. Srečal sem leteče ribeportugalske ladjice, kite, morskega psa, par želv ponoči pa občudoval obilje svetlečega planktona. Med prebijanjem valov mi je uspelo v barko ujeti lignja in par portugalskih ladjic. In od takrat sem vedno preverjal kam se usedam. Na vijolične ožigalke teh meduz definitivno ne bi želel nasloniti nage »bedre«. Delfini pa so mi zagotavljali tako rekoč stalno spremstvo s kakšnim daljšim odmorom. 

Še danes rad obujam vtis, ki mi ga je pustilo 360 stopinj obzorja, ki ga riše ocean brez vsakršne prekinitve. Čas sem preživljal v nekakšnem transu in posledice dolgotrajne samote in nerednega spanja so se kazale le v občasnih nenavadnih mislih. Ena takih je bilo moje nestrinjanje z ljudmi, da so delfini inteligentna bitja. »Sej skoz sam plavajo! Niti manjše vremenske napovedi mi ne znajo dati.« En dan sem na SSB radiu poslušal angleško okroglo mizo na temo »Kaj je najtežje pri kuhanju«. Po precej dolgočasnem pogovoru so zaključili da je največja grozota stanje kuhinje po kuhanju in čiščenje, ki sledi. Počutil sem se, kot da sem »nadmudril« pol sveta, ko sem vrgel stran prazno vrečko pravkar »potamanjene« z vrelo vodo zmešane dehidrirane hrane ter obliznil in pospravil žlico. »TA-DA, my friends, here is a solution for you.« Dejstvo, da je bila to moja četrta vrečka »Pasta primavere« v parih dneh, me ni preveč motilo. Ker so moje priprave v Les Sables potekale v mojem »last second« stilu, sem takoj izrabil priložnost, ko mi je Liza ponudila 40 paketov dehidrirane hrane, ki jih je imela odveč. Samo izbor je bil posledično nekoliko okrnjen. In tale »primavera« ji očitno res ni dišala. Precej razumljivo.

Peti dan po startu sem med poslušanjem napovedi prejel slabo novico. Fronta, ki bi naj pregnala kolega z visokim pritiskom se bo ustavila cca 100 milj zahodno od mene. Znašel sem se visoko na severu, odrezan od cilja z dolgo črto brezvetrja, ki se mu nikamor ni mudilo. Imel sem dve možnosti. Ali se še dalje držim dobrega vetra proti severu, si grem ogledati Irsko in upam na priobalne vetrove ali pa poskusim prebiti brezvetrje. Odločil sem se, da Irsko obiščem kdaj drugič in za prehod izbral sredo zvečer, ko bi se naj po napovedi anticiklon razpotegnil vse do Skandinavije. V pripravi sem nabral čim več svojih 20 minutnih spancev in na jug obrnil spočit. Tako sem lahko bil buden ves čas prehoda in lovil vsako najmanjšo sapico. Tudi tokrat smer ni bila proti cilju ampak precej južneje. Tako sem pas brezvetrja prečkal pod čim bolj pravim kotom. Pripravil sem se na najbolj črn scenarij, ko bom v brezvetrju preždel več dni med tem, ko me bodo napadali roji mrčesa in me bo izžemala dnevna vročina. A že po noči in dnevu lovljenja šibkih sunkov vetra iz vseh smeri sta mi soliden severo-vzhodnik in padajoč zračni tlak dala vedeti, da sem na drugi strani. Že naslednjo noč sem preživel v družbi 13 vozlov vetra, polne lune in neumnih delfinov.



Počasi smo se vračali v Biskajski zaliv. No, vsaj karta je kazala tako. Scena je ostala ista z izjemo oblakov, ki so kazali na par ciklonov, ki so napovedovali veleslalom do cilja. Veter se je vztrajno krepil  in kmalu moj avtopilot ni več zmogel slediti tempu barke z velikim špinakerjem. Ker je moj senzor za veter stavkal sem ga lahko uporabljal le v funkciji s kompasom. Po vklopu ga je že tretji ali četrti val vrgel iz tira in če nisem prevzel krmila dovolj hitro je barka končala v veselem ne nadzorovanem obratu v veter- v »štraorcadi«. Tako sem vztrajal ves čas na krmilu v atraktivni glisadi in se aktivno ne ukvarjal s vprašanjem kaj bo, ko bom moral spati. Hkrati sem se ukvarjal z dilemo, kdaj veliki špinaker zamenjati z malim. Poskusi v teh razmerah pač niso bili več dobra ideja. Normalno bi si postavil mejo okoli 25 vozlov vetra, a brez instrumentov je bilo veter težko dovolj natančno oceniti. Ko je veter to mejo zagotovo presegel sem se parkrat že lotil akcije menjave jader, a za to sem vsaj za krajši čas potreboval avtopilota in vedno je akcijo odložil kak sunek vetra ali posebno visok val. Pa tudi utrujen sem bil že precej. Takrat je barka dala nekaj dodatne motivacije. Ob glasnem poku in zvoku trganja vlaken je prednje jadro čudno vzvalovilo. Kot bi mignil sem ga zamenjal. A tudi zdaj avtopilot ni mogel slediti dogajanju. Sedel sem za krmilom in premišljeval. Jasno mi je bilo, da se je z vpetjem kostnika nekaj zgodilo. Pa  tudi, da bi moral za popravilo povsem obstati in najbrž tudi v vodo. In še tako sem imel zelo male možnosti, da uspešno odpravim težavo. Nadaljeval sem svoje precej aktivno jadranje in se ubadal s svojo novo zaposlitvijo. Tlačenje misli, kdaj bo vpetje dokončno popustilo in se bo moje jadro prelevilo v veliko zastavo s tri metrsko karbonsko cevjo, ki opleta na njenem koncu.

Milje so hitro kopnele a na krmilu sem vztrajal že čisto predolgo. A ob  poslušanju radia sem bil še vedno v samem vrhu flote, a zadnji dan oddajanja nisem mogel poslušati. Imam sicer prenosen radio,vendar je moj kokpit vsaki tretji val prelevil v akvarij in samo obvladovanje barke je bilo čisto preveč dela. Tako sem lahko samo upal, da barko dovolj »gonim« in se dalje boril s spancem. Misli sem si zaposlil s pisanjem daljše otroške pesmice za svojega nečaka. Ta se je rodil ravno na dan, ko sem odšel v Francijo na mojo Mini avanturo in je imel zdaj že slabe 4 mesece, pa ga še nisem imel priložnosti spoznati. Metoda se je v začetku izkazala za precej učinkovito. A čeprav sem pesem ponavljal toliko, da jo bom najbrž znal na pamet za vedno, sem kmalu začel kinkati na krmilu. Parkrat le za val ali dva in brez hujših posledic, kmalu pa za dovolj dolgo, da mi je v »odsotnosti« barka pobegnila od vetra v tisti veseli manever, ki mu pravimo »Chineese jibe«. Jadra so udarila na drugo stran in se nalepila na jambor. Moja premična kobilica je bila v napačnem položaju in sredi noči sem se znašel v barki, ki je ležala na vodi z jamborjem v horizontali in jadri v vodi. Uspel sem popustiti jadra in dvigniti kobilico. A v mojem stanju mi je manever vzel precej časa in tako rekoč vso energijo. Ko sem barko uspel spet »pognati« sem bil buden kot čuk in moker kot miš.

Z jutrom je veter nekoliko pojenjal. A dolga razpotegnjena črta na obzorju je napovedovala kopno.  Zdaj je sem se moral precej potruditi, da sem si dopovedal, cilj še vedno ni dovolj blizu in manj vetra je treba izkoristiti za vsaj malo spanca. Bravo jaz, saj se je veter že po slabi uri spet začel krepiti. Ampak kratek odmor je bil dovolj. Spet sem gnal barko in se ukvarjal z novo mislijo: »Kje so ostali?« Od zadnjega slišanega »rankinga« na radiu je minilo že skoraj dva dni. V Biskajskem zalivu, po katerem smo bili raztreseni sta veter čarala dva ciklona in razmere so bile precej spremenljive. Barke nisem poznal dovolj dobro, da bi vedel ali sem hiter. Kopno se je približevalo vedno počasneje. Malo zato, ker je veter spet upadal, predvsem pa zaradi nastopajoče oseke, ki je hitro praznila zaliv in boril sem se z močnim tokom. Bolj so se kazale posamične stavbe Les Sables de Olona, bolj počasi sem lezel proti cilju. In ravn,o ko sem se že vprašal, če bo spet potrebno kako sidranje tik pred ciljem sem uspel vpluti v zaliv in skozi ciljno linijo.



Kričanje iz spremljevalnega čolna, katerega izvor, zaradi očitne podobnosti, ni bilo težko oceniti. Bila je Lizina mama in to sem ugotovil čeprav je nisem še nikoli prej srečal. Možje iz ciljne barke so mi šele zdaj povedali, da sem tretja prispela barka. Težko vam pišem o kakih valovih sreče in čustev. Ja, bil sem vesel. Pravkar sem dosegel zelo lep uspeh, še posebej za prvo sezono in prvo offshore regato. A za več kot malo veselja sem bil preprosto preutrujen. Počutil sem se kot zunanji opazovalec. »Mamo kar mamo, smo kjer smo, POSTLAAAA!« Najprej me je iz mojega transa zbudilo novo kričanje iz spremljevalnega čolna. Cilj je bil precej blizu mestne plaže in voda precej plitka. Moral sem kar pohiteti s pospravljanjem jadr, če nisem želel regate zaključiti parkiran med sprehajalci na plaži.

Na obali sem se še enkrat zahvalil kobilici in vpetju kosnika, ki sem si ga zdaj lahko ogledal in je visel le še na par vlaknih karbona, da nista popustila. Ursula je razblinila še zadnje dvome da je Lizina mama. Pričakala me je namreč s hladnim pivom. Seveda sem bil po dveh pivih povsem adijo in ubogo žensko sem šele spoznal, pa je že slišala vso mojo življenjsko zgodbo z vsemi plani za prihodnost vred. Dosti ljudi me vpraša, kaj si storil najprej, ko si prišel nazaj. »Spil sem pivo«. Prosim ne sprašujte me kaj je bilo drugo. »Spil sem drugo pivo in na smrt zdolgočasil eno super žensko«. No, tretje je bil tuš in četrto moja postelja v kombiju. Definitivno najboljša postelja kar jo je videl svet.