Ocean Planet Report
June 14, 2002
We are now back in the water, and the race is on….against time! I am working frantically to get ready for my qualifying sail to the Azores, as I need to leave as soon as possible and get back in time for the final preparation for the Around Alone.
With 2500nm (Rhumbline) to sail to to Azores, a few days buffer while there, and the trip back, it could be a month turnaround if the conditions are slow. Preparation for the trip is slow for a number of reasons, one is that I am taking the qualifying sail very seriously. It is the only time available to test a number things that are just getting finished. It would not be a good idea to start the Around Alone without installing and using, for instance, the transom emergency rudder system. Another issue is that the boatyard here is swamped, and they are having a hard time keeping guys working on the boat. Admittedly, I can be pain to work with as I am a fanatic about preparing the boat properly. But, I simply cannot leave until things are finished enough to sail safe, fast, and be able to push hard enough to legitimately test out Ocean Planet solo on the trip.
Launching Yesterday (the 13th):
Back again, now it’s the 15th . . .
After I wrote the update above, we had a very exciting time stepping the mast. We were in a hurry and tried to get it in before a big thunderstorm hit us . . . BIG mistake as we took too long, and got blasted in the middle of the process with torrential rain, big wind and of my favorite: lightning!! We didn’t get a direct hit, but two guys hanging on to the mast felt a shock and had to let go! We had to abort the process and wait for the storm to pass . . . more time lost. Overall, the experience was excessively exciting and stressful.
A big thanks to Ashley Perrin who has been here to help out the last couple weeks. She was a childhood chum of Ellen McArthur’s and has a good amount of experience for her years and works hard. Too bad she has to leave today.
I am having a real problem here in Charleston getting enough help to get the boat ready. It doesn’t look like I will be able to leave until the middle of next week, which puts me back in the U.S. only a month before Ocean Planet has to be in Newport. It will be a hell of a month! If we find a sponsor, there are a couple of secret performance features that have yet to be added to Ocean Planet that we haven’t been able to afford so far. I can race without them, but she won’t be at her full speed yet. As I am very competitive it will be tough for me not to be fully armed for battle, but I will try to make the start either way.
Dyin’ to hit the high seas (once we’re ready),