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County’s favourite sailer crosses ‘crazy’ solo 2,600 mile race finish line!

sandy-back
AUG. 15 – Back on land after another 1350 miles at sea. Bring on the French hospitalities!, says Sandy, on his Facebook. “A broken spreader prevented me from sailing with full sails for the final 550 miles of the race. The rudders also had some issues which prevented me from sailing hard through the hurricane. All in all I’m frustrated with the result, but hey… That’s sailing. I have learned loads! I had an amazing time out there and can’t wait to get Yellowfin fixed to get back on the water. Thanks to everyone who followed my somewhat slow progress across the ocean. Full blog coming after I’ve slept a little.”

AUG. 15 – 42nm until Les Sables where Sandy (and Yellowfin) will be greeted with a cold beer and hot food! 19th place and still pushing hard.

sandy-race-home-starts

AUG. 14 – 160 miles until the finish line! GO GO GO

AUG. 13 – With the end in sight, Sandy and Yellowfin are pushing hard! Small gains are being made on the fleet ahead and who knows, perhaps he can take 18th place.

AUG. 12 – While the leading ‘protos’ are nearing the end of their race, the majority of the ‘series’ fleet are seeing changeable conditions with many recording speeds of around 3 knots. Sandy continues to post speeds of around 5 knots and is doing a good job making up some miles!

AUG. 11 – As they reach the halfway point Sandy has maintained his 19th position! He is currently surfing along at around 7knots.

AUG. 10 – Sandy has moved up to 19th position as the fleet continue their blast home!

AUG. 9 – 20th place and maintaining a good pace! It’s been fast sailing and it looks like it’s set to continue for the next 36 hours! (Earlier) Another good night for Sandy and Yellowfin as the fleet see a sustained 23 knots of wind making for a wet and wild ride back across the Atlantic! Sandy has maintained his 19th position and looks to be in a good position.

AUG. 7 – Sandy sits in 19th place tonight as the fleet make good speeds in sustained wind provided by the remnants of Hurricane Bertha! It should be a fast night!

AUG 6 – Sandy sits in 11th position making a steady 10 knots! Remember you can track Sandy and Yellowfin’s progress online at: http://lessables-lesacores.geovoile.com/2014/app/flash/

AUG 6 – Sandy’s race back has begun. Mom Wendy reports he was feeling great and had a good start 🙂

PEYC burgee flying proudly!

PEYC burgee flying proudly!

AUG. 6 – (From Sandy’s Facebook) We’re going! Departure from the Azores at 5:02 pm. Hurricane Bertha won’t bother us. I’m looking forward to getting on the sea again

AUG. 6 – Weather briefing in half an hour. The new forecast looks rough, but nothing the minis can’t handle. There will be a decision made as to whether we will start today at 5, or if we wait for Hurricane Bertha to pass. The people making the decision are experienced professionals and won’t take risks if the forecast is dangerous. Whatever their decision, I, along with many other sailors, will respect it. The Azores are beautiful, but it’s time to come home! Will update as soon as I know!

AUG. 5 – Despite being in paradise with absolutely stunning weather, the second leg back to France has been delayed. A tropical depression, or hurricane, named Bertha, is looming over the North Atlantic. The race organizers are taking no chances with our safety and have decided to aim for a start at 5pm tomorrow UTC. This will give Bertha time to move over mainland France by the time we get anywhere near her. Happy with the decision.

AUG. 5 – The weather predictions are looking rough for the coming leg. A large low pressure system is developing in the North Atlantic which could make for some fast but potentially dangerous sailing in the Bay of Biscay. Yellowfin loves it! All the mini sailors are watching the weather predictions closely.

Sandy-part-one-of-race

AUG. 1 – “It was the hardest race I have done – mentally, physically and emotionally,” Sandy said today on his blog. “I broke tons of things on board requiring me to stop twice mid-ocean to repair them…. I learned more in this race than I have in the past year of sailing the Mini.”

Click here for Sandy’s  three part blog about leg one of his journey

Sandy-arrives-in-AzoresJULY 30 – Arrives in the Azores. Sandy tells his Facebook friends that “10 days at sea is just long enough I think. Enjoying the sunshine and Portuguese beer! Hardest, yet most amazing race I have ever done. Some sleep and real food now, but can’t wait for the race back to Les Sables!” The leg back starts August 5.
JULY 29 – Sandy has 130 miles to go, not long left!
JULY 28 – Sandy has under 300 miles until he reaches the Azores! He is sure to have learned a lot on this first leg, and will be looking forward to a good night’s kip on land! At his current speed, Sandy and Yellowfin should make land within 45 hours.

JULY 25 – Sandy sits in 20th as the fleet hits the halfway mark of leg 1! It will be a tough night for Yellowfin and Sandy as they try to fight their way out of a small high pressure system currently engulfing the tail end of the fleet. That said they are faster than many of their closest competitors and Yellowfin likes the light airs.

JULY 24 – Four days, 2 hours and 59 minutes into the race Sandy is hanging on in there! 117 nautical miles behind the race leaders but making good pace. 723 nm to go and a lot of race course left to play on!

JULY 23 – It looked like a tough night for Sandy and competitors at the rear of the fleet as they try to round Finisterre. The area has a huge amount of commercial traffic be that cargo or fishing, making a night navigation hard work for a fully crewed boat let alone a solo sailor in a boat measuring a mere 6.5m long! Sandy is 40 miles from a top 10 position as he currently sits in 19th place. His speed is good but expect to see the leading pair continue their charge to Horta!

JULY 21 – Sandy is currently sat in 20th position as the fleet continue to make headway to the Azores He is maintaining a good speed with an 18 mile deficit to the leading boat! This is close race.

JULY 20 – Sandy and Yellowfin currently sit in 17th position as they lie south of the leading fleet. With sustained 16knot winds from the west this first 24 hours is going to be all about matching boat speed with competitors and watching out for traffic overnight!

We will keep you updated as we receive news from the tracker and racecourse. You can track the race yourself by following this link http://lessables-lesacores.com/en/. Once you have found your way to that page look for the heading ‘Cartographie’ and change the drop-down list from “Proto” to “Serie” before Sandy’s boat will appear.

Also, fans can “like” him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandysailing?ref=br_tf

Many local people have been financially supportive of Sandy's venture and, in recognition, he has put decals on the outside and inside of the boat.  You can see some of the support, from businesses and individuals in this picture as well as a great view of the Maple Leaf that Yellowfin proudly wears.

Many local people have been financially supportive of Sandy’s venture and, in recognition, he has put decals on the outside and inside of the boat. You can see some of the support, from businesses and individuals in this picture as well as a great view of the Maple Leaf that Yellowfin proudly wears.

Sandy-Macpherson-Yellowfin-2014

The County’s favourite sailor has had a clean start in the rain and chop sailing solo from the west coast of France to the Azores islands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.

The 2,600 mile race will be Sandy Macpherson’s longest solo sailing adventures to date as part of a race with 33 other boats called “Mini’s” with skippers from all around the world. Eleven are “Protos” and 22 (including Sandy’s YellowFin) are “Series”.

“It has always been my dream to race Mini’s and to complete the race to the Azores is a dream come true,” he says. “Canada isn’t really known for its ocean sailors, but I aim to change that. This is an adventure of a lifetime not only for me, but for Canada.

Sandy Macpherson

Sandy Macpherson

The 20-year-old County boy started sailing when he was nine, at the Prince Edward Yacht Club. Sandy attended Plymouth University in the UK, where he obtained a BSc (Hons) in Navigation and Maritime Science. He used his experiences in England to network with some of the world’s best sailors. Today, his sailing experience covers 20,000 watery miles.

Sandy raised more than $15,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society in August 2012 during his ‘Sail for a Cure’ ;  then made a splash as a member of the British Youth Plymouth Sailing Team competing in a 1,000 mile sprint around the Arabian Gulf  in 2013. In January, with team Iskareen, he finished third of 37 entrants in the legendary Cape to Rio Race.  (Click links for full stories)

The Course - The course is 2600 miles long and is split up in to two legs. The first, starting on the 20th of July, is from Les Sables D'Olonne, on the west coast of France, to Horta, the main town on the Azores islands. This leg of the race is 1300 miles long and should take me about 10 days to complete. The second leg from Horta, back to Les Sables, is the same distance, but should take a little less time due to the prevailing winds.

The Course – The course is 2600 miles long and is split up in to two legs. The first, starting on the 20th of July, is from Les Sables D’Olonne, on the west coast of France, to Horta, the main town on the Azores islands. This leg of the race is 1300 miles long and should take me about 10 days to complete. The second leg from Horta, back to Les Sables, is the same distance, but should take a little less time due to the prevailing winds.

His current race is known as one of the crazier races in the world because of the size of the boat.

“We race solo in 21 foot boats with ancient navigation technology – even required to take sextants,” said Macpherson. “To qualify for the race, I have had to do several qualifying races the past few months, as well as a 1,000 mile solo qualification sail. They want to make sure people are ready for it before they let them off.”

He’s piloting “Yellowfin”, a 21-foot Zero that fits under the Mini Class rules. He reports Yellowfin is extremely fast, especially in light winds, but is known as one of themore stable and forgiving Minis, which should serve him well as his first boat.

“What’s amazing about the Mini is that the governing body restricts the equipment the sailors are allowed to take,” he reports. “They are allowed paper charts and a basic GPS to navigate, as well as a short range VHF radio to communicate. No cell phones or modern chart plotters, so it’s back to basics!”

While at sea, he will battle sleep deprivation, storms and other obstacles.

“I usually sleep about 20 minutes at a time in order to maintain a good lookout for passing ships. During the storms I tend not to sleep at all,” he explains. “Eating on board is simple because I only eat freeze dried meals and protein bars. No home cooked steaks on the water. Showering is optional, though if the wind dies, a swim to check the hull of the boat is always in the cards.”

Sandy photos for a photograph at Les Sables with famed solo racer  Alessandro Di Benedetto.  This man, among many feats, sailed a Mini around the world, non-stop, solo, completing half the journey with a jury-rigged mast.

Sandy photos for a photograph at Les Sables with famed solo racer Alessandro Di Benedetto. This man, among many feats, sailed a Mini around the world, non-stop, solo, completing half the journey with a jury-rigged mast.

 

Awesome video – Sail with Sandy for six minutes!

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