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Ocean Planet Report
Saturday, December 14, 2002
0730 gmt
Pos: 35 38S, 17 32 E


Well, we’re off. Although not running yet, but rather beating in light and shifty air. 

The last few days before the start were among the most stressful that I’ve ever had, but we made it. I was in a rough mood for much of the time, and I apologize to any and all that were unfortunate enough to be subjected to my frustration.

Ashley, Jason, and Steve had to fly out Thursday afternoon. They worked frantically until the last second, but we still had to finish assembling the new mainsail and battens, then install it on the boat. New local friends and last minute volunteers helped me finish things off, a big round of applause please to Glen Langston, Jannie, Chris, Gordon, Lucy, and all the others who pitched in! Thank heavens I wasn’t in Simone’s situation who arrived late with only about two days to prepare! He and his crew worked non-stop around the clock to get as ready as they could. Others that had last minute surprises included Brad & Tim. Brad, who had to get a stuck leech cord in his mainsail re-sewn started about 1 and half hours late, and I just got word that Tim left this morning, although I’m not sure what held him up. I’ll drop him note and find out…

I was almost totally exhausted when we left the harbor. After the volunteer crew hoisted the main to the first reef and hopped off onto the inflatable pick-up boat, the wind picked up and I rushed to put in the second reef. I wound up a minute or so late at the start but quickly passed the class two boats and then Emma, who was shaking out a reef as the wind (of course) started to let up. Soon I had to take a reef out too as Emma caught back up. As soon as the wind seemed to be stable, I went down for a quick nap as I was starting to nod out on my feet, which I thought was rather dangerous. I was slowly passing Emma, who was about a half mile to weather. But a nap can be costly….

As (bad) luck would have it, Simone and I were caught in a windless hole that Emma just escaped. I tacked out away from shore and slowly got into better wind but Bernard, Theirry, Graham, and then Emma were on the horizon and got away. Simone looked really stuck in the dead spot as I sailed away from him.

But luck works both ways, and through the night I was able to work south and west, which should get me first into the WNW wind coming later today. We’ll see how it works out. Time for another nap as it will be a few days before I’m fully recovered. I hope that someday I will get to start one of these races well rested!

Thanks to everyone who has donated to get me this far. We still have about $25k to raise to pay the immediate bills from Cape Town and all the equipment we had shipped there. If we can drum that up it will help get me to New Zealand without burning any important bridges with suppliers. In NZ we start all over again, and I’ll try not to break anything expensive between here and there. 

Check out the nice logos on our new mainsail (see attached pic)!

Bruce and OceanPlanet


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