Home > Journals > Around Alone

Ocean Planet Report
Ocean Planet Around Alone Log
Friday, Oct. 4, 2002
Brixham, England


First off, sorry to be slow on the updates. The past two days have been a blur, but we are making headway in the race to get ready for the start a week from Sunday. There is so much to talk about. I don’t know whether to give you a report on the other racers arriving, the wonderful little town of Brixham and the people here, or the details of our struggle against the forces of financial reality and time. The latter is the most important in my mind right now, that’s for sure…

Here’s what’s happening on the boat: Ashley Perrin, talented organizer and sailor, has been my “right hand” organizing much of what follows below and the talented volunteers from Brixham. She is a childhood chum of Ellen McArthur and a lot of that talent must have rubbed off on her since we would be sunk without her.

Boom: Ted Van Dusen has almost finished the boom in Concord, Mass. It should be shipped from Boston airport tomorrow if all goes well. The costs of the air freight are daunting, especially now that it turns out the carriers want an extensive crate built, which will be very heavy, then of course will be billed by the pound for the shipping…. Hopefully it will be here next Wednesday and it will be a major rushorama to finish the assembly and rig it. Several other parts, like replacement mainsail battens are going to be shipped with the boom.

Electrical: The primary running lights shorted out from so much soaking. Deep Creek Design who made our original LED lights is rushing to make some more and get them to us. Other electrical projects include getting the SSB radio to work (a never-ending struggle) and installing an Iridium phone/data transceiver as a back-up to our Mini-M. The Iridium has better coverage in the higher latitudes, also. 

Mechanical/Structural: Biggest project here is beefing up the water ballast tank bulkheads. They are flexing too much and if one ever lets go….well, let’s not think about that! Local volunteer and engineer Calvin is making a new bracket for the alternator and working on a few other details. 

Sails: Doyle sails has been fantastic, picking our whole pile of sails and driving them (and me) to their loft in Southampton yesterday to go over the sails and find a way to repair them and make it to Cape Town. It won’t be easy, as the main was really battered in the boom incident and the working has just spent too much time in the sun. But Phil Bennett at the loft is really talented and has some great ideas on how to do it. There is a MAJOR issue though. There is no way that these two sails will make it past Cape Town and through the Southern Ocean. This is the minimum assuming that we don’t damage any of the others on Leg 2. So we need to order a new main and working jib WITHIN TWO WEEKS to have them shipped to Cape Town in time. Doyle will give us a great deal but it will be at least $35,000 said and done in Cape Town. We simply cannot borrow any more, so we need to raise enough for a deposit by the start on the 13th or we will be out of the race in Cape Town. That’s the way it is, so when your parents aren’t looking, please empty all the cookie jars and send it to us. The sooner the better.

Attached are some pics of the work beginning on the ballast tanks, and a very special boat “Suhaili.” This is the boat that first sailed non-stop, solo, around the world. The organizer of this race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, is her owner and the man who did it in 312 days in 1968. Think about that for a while. Let me tell you, he is a character to meet, too.



Next Story