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Ocean Planet in the Around Alone – Update
Monday, February 24, 2003 1300gmt
Position: 55 18 S, 82 13 W


Hi all,

If I can keep this pace it will be just over two more days until Cape Horn. A final, nasty low pressure system is approaching from the west with some big winds. If I can keep moving fast enough the worst of it will have eased off a bit by the time it rolls over. So I’m still racing fast even with no mainsail, and I am actually holding about even with Tiscali and Emma and gaining a bit on Graham who is also without a main.

It’s a bit risky as I have the working jib out now in more wind than it was intended for, but without the main we need the sail area to keep going. The staysail will be too small until it’s blowing about 40 and at that point, it will be very interesting to try to roll up the working jib! I’ll have to time it just right.

I spent a lot of yesterday preparing for the coming blow by continuing to stabilize the mainsail and boom and patching the hole in the deck. Ashley of our shore crew had packed me some plywood and special underwater epoxy for just this kind of thing. I cut out a piece of wood to cover the hole and crack in the deck, then mixed a big batch of goo with a lot of thickening powder from MAS Epoxies to give it some body. After spreading the slop on the wooden band-aid, I then yanked out the towel and rags that had been stuffed in the hole and hurriedly wiped it down with alcohol. Saltwater spray was flying everywhere so there was no time to dally! I laid down the board with a flop like the proverbial piece of peanut buttered toast hits the floor. Just in time as it then immediately started to hail pretty hard. I squished it down as best I could and got out of there.

It worked! So nice to not have to bail out that compartment every hour. It is just a temporary fix though. When I stop to fix the boom I need to do some serious repair to the deck there if I want to use the runner and jammer on that side. There is a crack running down the deck all the way to the runner winch so it’s pretty serious.

I’m still debating whether to stop in Ushuaia or the Falklands. Graham’s team will be taking a boat from Ushuaia to meet him, which I could possibly follow up the narrow channel to the town which is a good 40 miles from open water. Somewhat risky as very big and unpredictable winds are common in that area. Not a good idea on an uninsured boat….but Graham’s guys are bringing some extra carbon cloth that I’ll need to fix the boom that may be hard to come by in the Falklands.

Hexagon isn’t planning on going up the channel as his needed repairs are not as extensive as mine and can apparently be done at anchor. I need to get the boom inside somewhere with the necessary equipment and heat. We are just too far south and it is too cold to try an onboard “Yves Parlier” (what a heroic effort in the last Vendee!) style fix. Stanley Harbor in the Falklands has a very protected harbor that is easy to get to and it’s right on the course to Brazil. Hopefully I can get the materials I need there or have them quickly shipped. Ashley and shipping expert John Zisa (who has helped us a lot at previous stopovers, including heroics to get us the new boom in England) of http://www.zedsailing.com/ are researching the situation.

I’ll keep you posted,
Bruce and Ocean Planet


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