From: Guy Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2018 11:49:11 PM
At 11:00 AM, on February 9th the starter’s gun launched 29 vessels South on an 850 nm passage to San Christabol, Galapagos, which is a possession of Ecuador. We had a good start being 9th across the line but that position rapidly deteriorated because I was not aggressive with the start and we had the wrong sail plan. Within one hour we made a sail change putting up the asymmetrical after dousing the 150 genoa. Later, due to my failure to cover the fleet, the larger and faster boats continually took our air and as the sun went down we were the dead LAST, our fleet rating. About 1600 hours, the North wind of 12-16 knots became to back to NW and most of the fleet went West whereas we continued on a southern course as we exited the Gulf of Panama. Our approach to this leg was relatively simple. We would sail Footloose essentially to 01 30N 083 54W with a N or NW wind before turning Southwest to the Islands with a forecast of Southerly winds 7-10 knots for about two days to make our Westing. This was a great plan except that the winds did not cooperate in terms in strength. After 31 hours of very good sailing in the upper 7s, the winds just simply died. So we began an activity that essentially would define the characteristic of the entire rally, namely motoring. We would day after day see predominately Southwest winds of 4-7 knots and a 20 ton, full keel boat does not perform admirably in those conditions. Ultimately we motored almost continually for 94 hours, only sailing for six hours after Saturday. Footloose and the ship’s company of Nina, Emitt and myself crossed the finish line on Wednesday at 9:40 PM EST with SW wind of 5 knots and a 1.8 negative current after almost five ½ days at sea.
Remarkably, we were the third boat to cross the line.
In making this passage, we crossed the Equator at 6:40 AM on February 14th and I slept through the event. We had planned to at least have a glass of wine to celebrate the event as oppose to the other foolishness that normally takes place when “pollywogs” crosses the equator. But my buddy Emitt did not wake me up. My log notes a loss of fig newton rations as a consequence of this miss deed. I actually thought about coming about and re-crossing but I was afraid of a running out of fuel and a mutiny. That drink would now have to wait until we had anchored in Baquerizo Moreno Harbor.
Upon crossing the finished line we notified Rally Control of our finishing time, furled the staysail, dropped the main, hoisted the Q flag and headed toward the anchorage. In truth, I hate entering any harbor at night much less a harbor that is unknown to me. As I entered the anchorage which is incorrectly marked, (three reds with no center channel marker) I decided to use my new wireless remote auto anchoring module. As Emitt maneuvered Footloose into the anchorage I went forward with the remote and a handheld VHF set on channel 71 to prep the anchor for deployment. Over the VHF, Emitt said I could drop the anchor in 36’ of water at my discretion as he took the forward way off of Footloose. I set the remote to 54’ and hit the button. What happen next was incredible. 54’ of chain came in a nano second and then another 54 and another and the river of chain continued at blinding speed and I watched until the grey river of chain all plunged into the harbor. As I hopelessly watched my new chain disappear into the dark water below my only thought was whether the painter attached to the anchor and connected to the anchor locker bulkhead would hold. Thankfully, it did. I think, I accidently hit the auto deploy button and since I had not entered a depth, all of the chain deployed. We manually, (Emitt) recovered enough chain to re-engage the windlass and then using our foot pedals we recover all of the chain. We repeated the anchoring process but this time I used the foot pedals controls. I only used the remote to show the amount of chain being deployed. At 10:57 PM, I positioned the snubber with 170’ of chain down, noted our precise position, time and ask Emitt to open the bottle of wine. We were done. All that remained was shutting down the electronics polishing off the bottle and hitting the rack.
We would clear customs the next day which is a story unto itself.