Happy 3rd Anniversary Sailrocket 2...
Mon, 16 Nov 15 17:14
Here's a little reminder of some fond memories from special day that many of us who read this shared some time ago.
On this day three years ago the spell was broken. After 11 years of wondering if this day would ever come, on a "oh well, let's give it a shot anyway" type of day, we decided to go for a run rather than just tow Sailrocket 2 back across the lagoon to her hangar. I'm so glad we did.
A SOUTH ATLANTIC SWELL WAS ROLLING IN FROM THE DISTANT POINT. THE WIND DIDN'T APPEAR TO BE BUILDING AS PREDICTED. WE NO LONGER TOOK ANY CHANCES AND WOULD RATHER SIT FULLY PREPARED ON SITE AT ANY OPPORTUNITY RATHER THAN TRY AND SECOND GUESS IT BEFOREHAND. EVERY DAY HAD TO COUNT NOW.
There had been an unusual lack of windy days during our last session down there. With long periods in between usable days we had to make very day count. From the previous few runs with the "fence" added to the new foil we knew we were onto something big. Sailrocket had punched out a peak speed well over 60 knots on the previous run 4 days earlier. It was a gusty day that didn't make a record beating average... but we now dared to accept it was possible. Based on this we asked one of our longest and dearest team members to pull on his old drysuit and come and join us one more time. Hiskia had left to start his own business in town which was doing well. The thought of Hiskia not being there after having been such a big part of the rollercoaster so far was unbearable. He had ridden the Sailrocket rollercoaster hard and deserved to share the greatest high if it was to come. Thankfully he gave himself a day off and joined us.
HISKIA AND I WITH THE RC SCALE MODEL OF SAILROCKET 2 FROM A GOOD COUPLE OF YEARS BEFORE. YEAH HE HAD SEEN IT ALL.
What followed was magic... right down to the flock of Flamingoes parking alongside at the end. Walvis Bay kept us waiting until dusk but perhaps accepting that we just weren't going to give up, she delivered what we needed. I tried to not get too excited until I saw the numbers. Sailrocket 2 had strolled it in.
A huge weight had come off my shoulders in the most beautiful way. Just us. Just our small team standing on a remote beach under a glorious African sunset welcoming a new reality. I don't know why I was so calm about it. The sense of relief was just so overwhelmingly relaxing. One thing was for sure, they were good conditions, but not big conditions. I knew if she could do that, then there was more to come. As it turned out, we would only have two more sailing days in this world record period.
Here's some other pics from the aftermath at that far away place three years ago.
Ringing Malcolm and Chris with the news was as big a thrill as the run itself. These are the phone calls you dream of making.
We took the team back in two trips in the RIB. We didn't mind standing out there and soaking it all up.
Hiskia hooks Sailrocket 2 up to the RIB one last time. Now for our sweetest slow ride ever back to the real world. He had to be there and he was. He deserved that.
We went the long way around the sand-bar at the entrance of the lagoon. I had plenty of time to think about it... and wonder about how the news was getting to all those who had followed, helped and supported us. I would think of certain individuals and just smile and shake my head.
Naude was the first to greet us on the boat ramp. Having witnessed many highs and lows since our first days in Walvis, he knew what it meant.
Sailrocket gets loaded onto her trolleys and put back in her tent with barely a feather ruffled. She's got two more days of work ahead of her... and much bigger plans.
After a long session in the container downloading all the photo's, videos, GPS', data loggers etc and sharing the news with anyone and everyone... we headed off to The Raft. It was late but they had stayed open. The sign on the wall when we came in said it all. Hot pizzas, cold rum, champagne and a fat ol' cigar. Perfect.
It takes something special to make the Swede have a drink. It takes something really special to get her to have enough to smoke a cigar. This was the time and place.
After all the champagne was drunk and the exhaustion set in. Landlord Gary bid us his fond fare-well "Get the f**k out of my pub" and we made our way sedately home...
I'd like to say that it's hard to believe it was three years ago but it seems about right. I know we've been quiet but I'd like to think we've done some good work since. These hard earned days three years ago have paved the way for what we feel is increasingly likely to follow.