Down to the wire…
I don’t know if you’ve been following the great Vendée Globe website (www.vendeeglobe.fr/uk/), but we have been really going at it to get ready. Our four new sails arrived Wednesday night and it has been a flat out effort since. Today our solar panels arrived along with Mark Weiss of Solara Energy (http://www.solaraenergy.com/), and we are installing them right away…..we may be up all night!
We actually went SAILING today with our beautiful new sails! We have four, including a special Cuben Fiber mainsail (http://www.cubenfiber.com/) made by Win Fowler and team at Maine Sailing Partners (Win is a Cuben Fiber expert). Also, there are three new sails by Doyle Sails (http://www.doylesails.com/) – a carbon/Vectran paneled working jib that looks rocket fast, a new D4 staysail for when it howls, and best of all a new fractional 2.2 poly asymmetrical kite that I have wanted for a long time. There were some great pictures and video taken of us zooming along with the new kite, but I don’t have them in my hands yet.
The crowd level is INSANE. I can not even begin to try to go up the dock through the crowd, so at the moment I’m hiding below writing. And, of course, giving directions when needed….;-) I even made lunch on the boat with my some of my huge stash of freeze-dried “chicken fajitas.” Not that bad, really!
There is probably twice as much food aboard as I need, but better safe than sorry and it’s good to have a variety. One of the really great additions to the on-board cuisine is a large selection of munchies by Blackbird foods that I really like. Check out http://www.blackbirdfood.com/!
So much is going on at once….innumerable rigging projects, cleaning, solar panels, etc, As I sit here at the nav station, I am listening to the sound of a hacksaw underwater. It turns out that my keel winglets hum too loud for me to stand it for three months, so I talked the diver, who is cleaning the bottom, to cut 1/2 of the length off of each one. A crazy thing to do at the last second, but we didn’t know how loud they were after reglassing them until we went sailing today! I hope the cut doesn’t rust too badly before I get back to Les Sables when we can haul out again.
Anyway, it’s back to work for me as I need to start up the diesel heater and run a pipe outside to try to keep the dew off the deck as we get ready to glue the panels down. Sheesh, what a struggle.
One bizarre thing is that almost every time I walk through the crowd in the Vendée Village, I hear my own CD over the sound system…. Hardly anyone knows that it is me, but what a strange feeling to be in a crowd of thousands hearing your own guitar playing wafting through the hubbub.
Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet