Laser Pico Challenge Completed June 2016 (Guest Writer)

Laser Pico Challenge 2016

Challenge completed 15-06-16

Distance 75 miles

Time 14 hours 8 minutes

Dave and his back up team motored from Dartmouth, southern UK for Guernsey, near France the day before the intended challenge day.

The forecast for the challenge day was a perfect SW F4-5, although the motor across the channel was uncomfortable with SW F5-7 winds on the beam.

Still, once in Guernsey, Dave and the team spent time checking and prepping the Little Laser Pico for readiness.

However, it was nearly all called off as the forecast changed and at 11pm the forecast was now SW F4-5 with 3-4 hours of F6 mid channel.

This would be too much wind to sustain for any length of time, and if things went bad, then there would be no safe way to recover the Pico in those sea conditions and we’d have to cut her free.

The 5am forecast changed back to much more favourable conditions, if anything, a little too light with SW F3-4 with F5 for a time mid channel.

With the green light for ‘GO’ burning bright, it was all systems go and soon Dave was setting off just after 6am from the sleepy little harbour.

Clear of Guernsey and the sea conditions were a westerly 6-8ft Atlantic swell with a SW 4ft wind chop.

Dave got into the routine of eating protein bars and vitamin/mineral drinks every 30-45 minutes to keep him fueled up.

After a couple of hours, dolphins came to play and it was spectacular being so close.

The first real obstacle Dave had to deal with was negotiating the busy shipping lanes.

Numerous changes were required to pick his way through the two 5 miles wide lanes. Out the other side and almost half way there!

When the F5 winds came, the little Pico was rocketing along and surfing at 8-9 knots. Unfortunately, the perfect winds only lasted a few hours.

The approach to the South coast UK seen the weather turn to drizzle and visability down to just a mile or so at times.

Once back in the bay and finish in sight, a couple of small boats came out to greet Dave as the end of day winds died off.

Dockside, there was a large gathering of followers eagerly waiting to see Dave’s safe return.

Touch down was to the blare of the sound of fog horns, cheers and the popping of champagne corks!

Dave described the finish to be one of his life’s defining moments.

However, it only took 24 hours to hatch the next challenge- bigger and better, on a Laser of course!

-Dave Birch

Completed Laser Pico Challenge 6/15/2016.