Wednesday, May 8, 2013

All Tied Up

Jeroboam is all safe and snug at Queen Anne's Battery in Plymouth. I more or less accomplished my goal of not breaking anything between Horta and here so I can be proud of that, but more importantly, I made it to the starting line. I knew it would be a difficult early season crossing and even characterized it as the hardest thing, mentally and physically, that I've ever tried but as it turns out, the delivery demanded far more from me than I ever imagined it would. I generally don't allow myself to beam too brightly at an accomplishment but I'm making an exception here. However the beaming is naturally shadowed by the looming test ahead: racing back to Newport, up wind, along a much more northerly route, with no stops. To think the delivery was the hard part would be foolish.

I charged right into my boat projects and have already made some good progress. Jeroboam got a nice scrub down, stem to stern, with the delivery sails struck, flaked, bricked and stowed and the race main installed. The furler all came apart yesterday, cleaned, forestay adjusted, new reefing line rove, line leads fixed, all much needed improvements and will give me a piece of mind knowing all this gear is in great condition for the race as it will get much use.

I didn't get any really exciting video on the leg from Horta but I did do more filming than before and have a sort of video log with brief entries from each day of the trip. I'm working on uploading them but these are huge files and take forever so may not have anything published until the end of the weekend.

I want to thank everyone for following along with the delivery and for all the cheering and encouragement along the way. At sea, I don't have internet access (except for weather downloads and brief, plain text emails) but once or twice a day, my shore support team compiles everyone's Facebook and blog comments and sends them to me and they always manage to cheer me up. Anna Neagle, a popular British film and stage star in the 40s and 50s said "Solitude is pleasant. Loneliness is not." Your comments help tilt my day to day life at sea toward the former.

It's been an absolute delight meeting people associated with OSTAR here in Plymouth. Another competitor, Jonathan Snodgrass of the boat Lexia, rolled out the welcome wagon upon my arrival, introducing me around, showing me a bit of the town and helping me get oriented. Two other entrants here, James Taylor on Anarchy and Richard Lett on Pathways to Children, have been extremely kind and welcoming as has the OSTAR race director, David Southwood, who ferried me to the grocery store for some fresh supplies. What a great bunch of guys! I'm loving it here and feeling right at home.

The immediate area has all the marine supplies, parts dealers and service providers I need for boat prep and there's even a good sized town though I have yet to explore it.

About 50 Minis showed up here at QAB yesterday for the Mini Fastnet race which starts on Sunday. Fastnet Rock is just off the southern tip of Ireland and there are a bunch of different races that use it as a mark. The course length, round trip, is 561 miles so very similar to a Bermuda Race distance wise though much closer to land throughout the race. The Celtic Sea can be just as rough and nasty as anyplace in the north atlantic and if there were any doubt, I suggest reading Fastnet Force 10 by John Rousmaniere about the 1979 edition in which a huge storm moved over the race course, disabling or sinking 25 boats resulting in 18 fatalities. The beginning of the OSTAR race takes us right through these waters.

I'll continue to post updates over the next three weeks as I train and prep for the race, though perhaps not as frequently as my daily updates from the delivery. Time to get back to work!

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