2002 – 2003

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Ocean Planet in the Around Alone – Update
Friday, February 7, 2003


It’s 1:15 a.m. in the morning here in Tauranga, New Zealand, and what a day it’s been. I have just returned to my host family’s house after a long evening at the official awards dinner for Leg 4. This was the last official function other than the skipper’s meeting tomorrow, correction, later today.

Today was a national holiday here (commemorating the signing of treaty between the native Maoris and the new commonwealth government), so there were a lot of visitors to the docks and race village. In the interest of fundraising, I did a guitar performance on the race village stage today with a very nice response. In fact, I raised a good amount of tips from the enthusiastic crowd! I’m sure they gave me extra credit since I’m an Around Alone sailor, but some applause always feels nice so I’ll take the kudos when I can get them…:-)

Our team has been working really hard to get the boat together and organized. There are so many details to look after it makes the head spin! Everyone is a bit stressed from the workload and problem solving, but we are getting it together. We are back in the water with the mast up, boom and mainsail on, and the keel is back in place (we raised the keel so we can haul out on a normal travelift). Over the next two days, we need to finish rigging, calibrate and test instruments, electronics, computers, the autopilot, buy food (to supplement my stash of Prometan bars….), test the sails, all the stores need to go back on the boat, and somehow I need to drum up the $ to square up with all the hardworking crew and Kiwis who have done a TREMENDOUS job on the boat.

The ballast tank is repaired, the bow modified with the additional crash box, the engine tuned by a Yanmar engine expert, just to name a few tasks completed. I feel that I am MUCH more ready than ever before and the boat will be safer and faster for Leg 4. I certainly am psyched to start putting boats behind me, that’s for sure.

Even though the talented local boatbuilders and workers are very busy (there is a backlog of boats being built here) they worked through weekends and evenings to pull it off for us. I think I’m going to play guitar again Saturday, since another guitar case full of cash would be quite handy right now. Although I would actually need several dozen of them to take care of the current bills. Oh well, I do what a can! Maybe I can land a recording contract…..;-)

Drat, I left my camera on the boat and have some great pics but will have to send them tomorrow. Trust me though, Ocean Planet looks much happier in the water than on land!



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