There has never been a larger gathering of Seascape27s than it was the 15th edition of regatta Jabuka. It is not the number of the boats that made this race extraordinary. It was the calibre of sailors that made it stand out. There were Mini Transat, Figaro, Finn and Olympic sailors, winners of Seascape Challenge, three Silverrudder winners (one twice in a row), Volvo ocean race and Sidney to Hobart veteran, top ISAF Open World Match Racer, Round Denmark Singlehanded winner and last but not least an alpine skiing champion who switched careers and is now becoming a real long-distance sailor. This human factor is as always was what makes Signature events so full of spirit and such a great experience.
Fighting for best position on the starting line with 106 sailboats in total wasn’t a walk in the park. Pitch black night with almost no wind was filled with numerous small slow-moving lights. The competition was fierce, and nobody wanted to leave anything to chance. One of the teams was even so eager to get going they went over the line prematurely and had to return to restart when race committee ordered them to do so. As you would expect it didn’t go without loud protest, but they went back nonetheless. To see all of them fighting through the channel between islands was a sight on its own. A sheer number of boats and close encounters between them made it anything but a dull affair. When they left behind the protected waters and went out into the open sea, we had to leave them an switch to the tracker stalking. Sailors that listened to the advice of our meteo-guru Jure (he was not one of them) and went for a more southerly route made significant gains on the way to the Jabuka rock comparing to others. Halfway there the trackers went dark. Those of us who stayed ashore could only rely on occasional reports from the teams via messaging or phone calls. Wilde Perle was the first Seascape to reach the lonely volcanic island Jabuka. They were the 9th boat overall to do so, sailing in the company of much larger vessels. The night was over, and everybody said it was one of the most astounding mornings they have ever seen. Low tropical-looking clouds illuminated by the golden light of the rising sun look terrific on the pictures. We can only imagine how it must have been to witness that firsthand.
It took until early afternoon for the GPS tracking devices to come back online so we could find out who was where. Karlheinz Müller, Martin Lindner and Hanno Stephan aboard Wilde Perle left nothing to chance and extended their lead before the rest of the Seascape fleet. They won their class and finished in the 14th place overall which is a great feat for the second smallest boat competing (the only one smaller was a Mini). We had time for a single gin&tonic before the second team Petit Amie arrived. Emil Tomaševič, Andraž Mihelin, Ivica Kostelić and Marko Mađarević were honest in their disappointment with the second place, admitted to having made a few mistakes and took their hats off to the winners. Third, as a minor surprise came Czech sailors Petr Sládeček, Vojtěch Sládeček, Marek Filinger and Daniel Privara on Emotion.
Meanwhile, some teams were still quite far out stuck in the windless zone. The temptation of delicious stakes and ice cold cocktails proved to be too much to resist, so they started their engines, abandoned the race and returned to port. Others kept on fighting and finished in the middle of the night. As its a Jabuka tradition most of the sailors stayed out in the bars. Still in full weather gear, it was just before dawn when the closing time forced us to head for a well-deserved rest.
The last day was just as summerish as all the previous, packing the boats went smoothly, and the prize giving ceremony went by quickly. All we are left with now is a warm feeling that the Seascape Spirit is growing strong and the bonds we tie on events like this are more powerful than ever. Looking out on the snowy landscape that greeted us this morning makes us (or at least me) wanting to go back.
I hope to see as many of you on SeascapeParty! Until then, adieu!