Race to Cuba: Day 3

Minor problems have surfaced on board Lesson #1 and the crew goes old fashioned with paper charts and calipers for navigation.

Photo courtesy of the archives of Southern Yacht Club

In 1952, Le Hederman and his all female crew aged from 21-27 on his 40' schooner, Tropicair, were ready to sail in the St. Petersburg to Havana Regatta, but were rejected to participate by the R/C after he and his crew of seven had made a name for themselves as a salacious event in the previous year's race. Officially denied from participating by the Race Committee, Tropicair sailed anyway and then got "lost" in the Gulf of Mexico for three days before "limping back" to Florida. The story also had a weird touch with the crew coming across a boat manned by mutes and they were bedeviled in their attempts to get directions back to Florida. The national media had made hay out of one man vanishing at sea with seven single women for three days. In 1952, the Tropicair's registration was again denied by the Race Committee as they reportedly considered the all female crew to still not have enough "sailing experience," but the skipper and crew were determined to redeem themselves and attempt the race again - as a registered participant or not - and eventually completed the regatta.

Going old-school and navigating with paper charts.Troy Gilbert

Onboard Lesson #1, we've had a fitful day of great sailing, but some serious technical difficulties. With the #1 headsail back up, we've generally sailed 120 degrees in a steady 11 knots of wind and averaging a bit over 6.5 knots. Nearly 180 miles south into the Gulf we're bouncing into massive eddies thrown of the edges of the Loop Current, but have now moved through them.

There are several very minor water leaks onboard, and we have spent some time periodically pumping out water here and there. Unfortunately last night we began noticing a weird drain on the batteries and today have discovered that we've had an alternator failure. We have been forced to power down virtually all electrical systems and are only getting a bump from a trickle charge solar panel. As such, we have lost power to our navigator's laptop and all weather routing - Lesson #1 is also going back in time a bit with paper charts and calipers, fitting for our eventual destination.

No boat loads of mutes yet spotted to give us directions... in fact, since yesterday's sighting of the Corsair, no other vessels whatsoever. Estimated time of arrival to Havana is some time Tuesday evening.

Follow along with the crew of Lesson #1 on the race tracker or our blog page for updates on the race to Cuba.