As the other boats entered in the Around Alone arrive with their busy crews, I’m feeling quite alone even though there is a constant stream of visitors. It is intimidating to watch 4-5 experienced pros scurry about on the hot Euro 60’s looking after the scores of details it takes to get a boat ready to race around the world.
What remains to be done on Ocean Planet is within reason, but there is no way to prepare too much. I’m a total “worry wart” about preparation, and I want to finish up soon enough to take a breather before the start of the race. To start exhausted would not be a good idea. With the Sept 15th start in the busy New York Harbor, there won’t be any sleep for a while until well offshore…and I don’t think I’ll sleep much in the prologue. There’s no one here to help me right now, so HELP WANTED!
After flying back from Seattle last weekend, I was so busy for a few days that I spaced out about taking my vitamins and sure enough, now I’ve gotten a lousy cold and feel like hell. Oops, I should know better and now is not a good time to have my head feeling like a water balloon. Yuk!
But even though I feel like sleeping, I couldn’t resist going over to greet Simone Bianchetti who arrived today on “Tiscali,” and Bernard Stamm who came in yesterday on “Armor Lux.” Tiscali is the ex-Whirlpool that was raced by Catherine Chabaud in the last Vendee. Also here is “Garnier,” which is the ex-“Aquitane Innovations” that Yves Parlier raced in the last Vendee, heroically finishing with a rebuilt mast that he repaired himself while at anchor
Here’s Garnier (ex-Aquitane Innovations):
Due to arrive tonight is Emma Richards on “Pindar” (the ex-“Gartmore”), who will be a big attraction. Everyone is wondering when Graham Dalton will show up with Hexagon/HSBC, the newest boat entered in the race. In fact, they may be quite late and there is the possibility of a time penalty. This issue is a hot topic of discussion here and also whether technically Dalton finished his qualifier before Sept 1st……The politics in the America’s Cup has nothing on the Around Alone these days! Anyway, I hope he gets here quick as I want to check out the boat…..;-)
These boats are awesome machines and will be tough to race competitively against with the budget we’ve had (or NOT had, I should say….) to work with. But Ocean Planet will have her moments, and I’m really here to learn and gain the experience I need for the 2004 Vendee Globe, our long term goal.
Of course, one of the BIGGEST reasons to do any of this is the wonderful characters that you meet along the way. The other skippers, their support team members, the guys in the yard, the race organizers, and those who have raced (or tried to and didn’t finish) are the most interesting folks you can imagine. Last night was a BIG party at former AA (BOC back then) competitor Tony Lush’s house in Jamestown. So many cool people were there! I didn’t feel well and was going to go home early, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to meet and talk to as many as I could. Then my friend Joe Colpitt handed me his awesome carbon fiber guitar……I might as well tell the truth, we played and sang music in Tony’s living room until late…. then it was up at 5 a.m. to get going on the boat and rigging.
No wonder I’m tired!