Better late than never! Ocean Planet and I are FINALLY ready for my singlehanded transatlantic trip to the Azores! I will leave tomorrow evening or Tuesday morning. We went for a test sail yesterday (in torrential pouring rain), to have a look and most everything is ready. Well, almost ready. Tomorrow morning we will still have to mount the housings for our new transom/emergency rudder system. It won’t be completely finished, but I will be able to test it out and finish it in Newport before the start of the Around Alone.
My goal is to get to the Azores safely, while testing a number of things we just changed: new jib luff ropes, backup autopilot, improved solar panels, some new Samson running rigging, different gear storage system, changed foredeck hatch, and a dozen other things that I can’t remember right now…. In the Azores, a few crew will be meeting me on the island of Faial, for the trip to Newport. I hope to get to Newport by July 20/24 or so.
There will still be number of projects to finish while in Newport, and time will be short, but for the moment all my attention is on getting going on this qualifying trip and raising the approximately $10,000 for the last installment of the Around Alone entry fee that is due July 1st. We made enough in donations and matching grants to cover the prep for the qualifier, but not the complete entry fee…one week to go! We can pay it later but then there will be a late penalty of about $7,000…ouch!
Anyway, Ocean Planet is looking good and that helps me forget the financial stresses. It will be GREAT to actually get sailing and get reacquainted with her and see how she likes all the little changes. Here she is, impatiently waiting for me to quit working on her and go sailing: