Girl from Tivat Crosses the Atlantic on a Catamaran

By , 14 Dec 2018, 12:33 PM Lifestyle
Stefani Racic from Tivat on a catamaran crossed the Atlantic Stefani Racic from Tivat on a catamaran crossed the Atlantic Radio Tivat

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December 14, 2018 - Stefani Racic from Tivat, with two other people, crossed the Atlantic on a catamaran. The 24-year-old Stefani describes this unique accomplishment in a letter sent to Radio Tivat:

November 17th, 2018 - Palma de Mallorca Saturday night, around 7 p.m..

It's raining and Pedro and I decided to go for a ride to the island to break the boredom. (A few days back, we got a job together with a couple from Israel on a 23-meter-long catamaran. The plan was to fly together to Antigua and to board the ship there, and the management paid the other crew for the delivery of the ship.)

At some point, we got a call to join the boat as soon as possible because the crew in charge of crossing was unable to do it for unknown reasons.

At first, the idea did not appeal to us, neither the captain and his wife, but in the end we agreed to fly to Las Palmas, where the ship was anchored after crossing from Mallorca.

Various thoughts passed through our heads, bad and good. None of us had ever seen that ship, let alone been on it. You are thinking why the crew abandoned the crossing - maybe something is wrong with the boat, maybe a storm was announced on TV, you see news from Tenerife where the waves are so big that it breaks the terraces of a hotel at the beach. The hardest thing for me was telling my parents I was crossing the Atlantic the following day, and I do not know when I will be able to contact them. Of course, all this sounds awful, but it still pushes you to do it, you feel the adrenaline, you think, however, it's the Atlantic crossing which some people dream of doing, it's a new and unpredictable path.

Days in silence, the only sound is the noise of the waves and the "banging" of the sails and cables. OK, we went, flew to Las Palmas and arrived there on Monday around 10 p.m., the captain waited for us on the docks and drove us to a ship that is anchored in front of the port. We meet his wife and friend whom they called with us, because he is the only one who crossed the Atlantic earlier.

In the morning we checked out, got fuel (stuffed into containers of 6L and large barrels of 150-200L), are all well secured on both sides of the ship and we departed.

Everything is OK on the first day. The next day, we noticed that the batteries are not being charged through the engine, which means that we have to use the generator to charge them, which additionally consumes the fuel. All right, what to do, not everything can be great.

A day or two after that, we begin to feel a very unpleasant smell on the boat, the black tank pump does not work, and the air from the pipe comes out between the two cabins, and we were troubled with that all the way to the Caribbean. We tried to repair, clean, wash, but it did not help.

The next thing that happened to us, there were 4 bottles of gas on the boat, because of the poor compressor we remained with only one bottle and so we had to save gas all the way and we cooked once or twice a day.

In all frenzy, not so big but enough to make you think, we enjoyed the beautiful nights of the full moon and the noise of the waves. Our night shift was from 11 pm to 4 am, but already around midnight the sky above the ocean began to be cloudy and the stars were less visible, very often at that time it rained a little bit.

After several days of not so good wind, we decided to use Code 0, although the sail was not in the best condition. We used it for perhaps 3 days until one afternoon, before sunset, when we started to pull down the sail its top broke where the lifter was passing through. The sail fell into the water, went under the ship together with all the scots and began to sink from the weight. We were going in circles for about 40 minutes with waves of perhaps 2m, somehow, we managed to get the sail out (thanks to Pedro who is strong enough to carry us all on his shoulders).

We all calmed down and decided to inspect each part of the ship to make sure something was not damaged by chance. When we turned on the engines, we noticed that water entered through the left shaft, we all panicked there, the shaft was shifted due to the pressure of the scot that the sail pulled behind before we cut it off. We were some 400 NM away from the Cape Verde Islands and decided to turn and move in that direction to take out the ship on the land, repair the shaft and take more fuel. However, when we started, the wind hit us right in the prow, and it can be very uncomfortable on the catamaran. I thought the ship would break into pieces, I was pale as snow and thought how I would survive for another 3 days in that weather.

After half an hour of sailing, no one liked how the boat was behaving and we decided not to go to Cape Verde, but we proceeded to the Caribbean.

Days passed slowly and without wind, so we managed to temporarily fix the shaft, if anything to stop the leaking of the water.

These days we saw the first whale pilots, it seemed amazing to see so great animals in the never-land. Dolphins surfed daily along the prow, dozens of dolphins. It happened that we see a bird or at least a "flying fish" that we thought was a bird.

We caught the first tuna in those days, and after a while we captured mahi-mahi fish. We would only fish if we ate the previous catch.

Somewhere in the middle of the road we opened the spinnaker, we were all under great tension and we did not want any more problems, but we had no choice, the spinnaker had to go up. The first day went well. The next day we noticed that something was wrong with the lifter, the guys climbed to the top of the mast (with 3m waves) to check what was wrong. The block through which the lifter was passing was damaged, which meant we could not use the spinnaker. The next day, we decided to use the spinnaker anyhow, but with a sail lifter code 0. It worked for a short time until the ropes began to be damaged by the excessive pressure and we had to shorten them each time after using the spinnaker.

The last 3-4 days of sailing the sky was clear, I never saw so many stars in my life, we would lie on the stern and watch. The same as the plankton that illuminated the path behind us. MAGICAL!!!

We saved some fuel on the road, so we have been using the engine for the last three days, and finally, after 18 days, we arrived in the beautiful Antigua, where after a long crossing we enjoyed the sandy beaches and all the magic of this tropical island before we started with further preparations for the job .

If this was the case over the Atlantic, I can only imagine how it was for sailors at the Volvo Ocean Race and how often they wondered "why do I need this in my life?" 

This is a wonderful ending of 2018 and even more beautiful start of the new one. Now a new wish list needs to be written because the previous one is fulfilled. This year I fulfilled more wishes than I expected, and for some as passing through Suez I did not hope much, but they did happen anyway. Suez, Corinth, Gibraltar, Atlantic. What's next?!

Text by Radio Tivat, on December 13th 2018, read more at CdM

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