In Part II below, Steve shares his fantastic story and adventure (to read Part I, click here).
Rapido’s state of the art design by Morelli & Melvin
The pedigree of Morrelli & Melvin’s design and care really shines through and particularly their experience with America’s Cup cats.
One time, for example, we had an absolutely massive wave near Tenerife which was like being launched off a cliff…
“My home, my home”, I screamed!
Both outer hulls dived into the water and water rushed over the shrouds which are a long way back. However, as we gathered speed, both outer hulls simply popped out of the water!
It was a jaw dropping moment that was also a massive adrenaline rush for sure! With the benefit of hindsight, I absolutely loved it!!
It is in these extreme situations that all the weight (fuel and water tanks, engine, anchor chain etc) centred around the mast really pays off.
The boat is so well balanced, stable and safe that it slots right into the groove. It accelerates with great gusto and then, for a quick surf, you just casually pull it down a wave at something over 15 knots!
In many respects, it feels almost like a magic carpet. You rarely heel more than 10 degrees. Hard on in a heavier wind, it may get up to 15 degrees. You can quite happily cook a meal at 18 knots plus speed.
The boat has water bulkheads in both the float hulls and main hull and, with foam sandwich construction, the life raft would only ever need to be used in case of an uncontrollable fire.
The Rapido 60 is well set up for short handed sailing and two can handle her with ease. There are Karver reef hooks on the boom so reefing is simple once you have preset where the main has to be for catchment and release. At the end of our intense training period we could have the boat leave the marina and be sailing in 10 minutes and all sail changes could be made safely either running or close upwind.
It is further testament to the expertise of Morelli & Melvin, that a relatively small crew can take on a venture like this especially when achieving speeds that put a magnificent satisfying smile on your face while – very importantly - feeling totally secure and not drained.
Farewell to Las Palmas
With Elodie kitted out and looking fab, we checked out from Las Palmas and said our goodbyes to a few dear friends who had made a special journey to see us off.
It was a wee bit sad sailing out of Las Palmas as we had been there for two months and had many laughs with so many people.
It is a fabulous destination with the wildest landscapes and bars!
The main ARC fleet had left a week earlier and here we were all on our tod and we wouldn’t see land again and perhaps only one or two boats for at least two weeks.
It is an exciting but daunting prospect, and not quite like taking a VW camper van around Europe.
There is nothing out there. NOTHING!
Las Palmas to St Lucia
In straight lines, the journey from Las Palmas to St Lucia is 2,800 nm but, to get in the trade winds, there is quite a long dogleg south. Another reason to head south is that it’s rather warmer. As the old advice goes, head south west until the butter melts!
With a full experienced racing crew you could do the crossing in as little as 7-10 days but are you going to do that with your new home and some inexperienced crew?!
Our policy was one of safety and prudence! At night, we sailed with two reefs and a staysail so our speed sometimes dropped to an appallingly boring 6 knots! The one time we did keep the reacher up led to a few hairy moments which, afterwards, was quite amusing. But even with two reefs in the main we hit 26 knots during a squall!
The helm station has a commanding and dry position enabling clear all round vision. One feels completely in control.
Going below deck there is a surreal serenity to the interior. It is quiet with little pitching or yawing and I even managed to sleep in the front cabin the whole way. Having said that, it is better not to be lulled into a completely relaxed state as the boat is fast and you do have to be somewhat careful. As with all boats, when walking about, it may be that ‘tenth’ wave or surfing down a swell which may be a little bigger than expected!
Having the relatively level platform of a trimaran to cross an ocean really has to be experienced. It is far less tiring than sailing a monohull which heels at 30-35 degrees. It also does not have that odd unnerving pitching-yawing motion of a cat or have the waves slamming under the bridge deck!
Coming up - PART III
In Part III, Steve labels the Rapido 60 as "Queen of the Oceans".
For Part I, click here.