|I can’t believe I’m still here waiting for the weather window. The original plan was to leave for the record at the start of November, but we are now looking at at least another 10 days before anything changes out in the Atlantic, and even then we don’t quite know how things will pan out – so for now it is still a case of just sitting tight and waiting. Nick emails me every day with the latest weather outlook and I also keep an eye out myself. Although the weather here in Gosport may appear OK, what we are looking at is the weather several days after departure, across the Bay of Biscay and around Cape Finistere at the North Western tip of Spain. When I sailed past there on my way racing to Buenos Aires in 2004, we had over 70 knots of wind here and big breaking seas – not pleasant then, but even less so in a very lightweight 40′ race yacht. Things may change but waiting is what we are doing for now.
I’m down on the boat most days ‘tinkering’ with things. Today I was adding some extra lazy jacks to help support the mainsail when it comes down and when we reef. There were originally 3 each side but now we have 5 each side. All spliced in with some dyneema from English Braids and a few low friction rings from Barton Marine. The other job was fitting the new spray screen made by Oarsome Chance. We decided to make it reversible so that we can flip it over and use it on either tack.
On Saturday we got to the boat early to fit the cover and check it was all OK. Then we headed out for a sail to see what it was like in use. We had the team from Oarsome Chance as well as one of the young people involved with the charity. It was windier than forecast and we soon had a reef in as we blasted out to the Nab Tower. Scooping up the English Channel we certainly put the new spray hood to the test and it performed brilliantly – all credit to Nick and Debs at the charity for making it. A sail change to the staysail saw me completely hosed down on the foredeck but my Helly Hansen kit and Sebago boots did their job of keeping me nice and dry. I just want to get going now on the record.
Watching the daily video footage from the Route du Rhum race has really got me in the mood for the challenge. Seeing the Class 40’s surfing along in the trade winds is so inspiring. Unfortunately I will only be able to send back still images from the boat. Ironically I have the hardware onboard to send back video but the cost of activating it (£400 per month for 25Mb) means that it is beyond the budget so you will all have to wait till I get back next year to see the videos.
You can follow me throughout the challenge via my satellite tracker. There is a link on the team home page or via this tracker link. The tracker will update the position every hour once I get going and you can even leave messages on there for me and others to read.