The boat is currently based in the AOS yard in Lorient. An amazing yard for its big trimaran, Open 60’s, Class 40’s and Mini’s. Every boat in the yard is of a high pedigree of racing. There is also a lot of history in the yard. In WW2 it was a German submarine base, and over the years its bee home to some classic racing yachts including the entire Pen Duck fleet. 816 is located in the Mini part of the yard, and there are currently about 200 mini’s, about 40 of which are getting ready for the big race. I am in an awesome location as the boat is always under cover, and I can winch it up in the air using block and tackle to sand and paint the undersides when required.
In the past few weeks the bottom of the boat has been completely stripped of all Antifouling back to its original gel coat, re-primed and re painted. This is not an easy job it requires sanding overhead for days on end. So far the bottom has taken me over 5 days, and I estimate I have another two days of work to get it perfect. The keel and rudders are looking flash in the mandatory Survival Orange. The rest of the hull will be sprayed with a very smooth antifouling on Friday just before I put the boat back in the water. Once re-sprayed the boat will need re-sanding, diving on a regular basis, and a final polish before the race.
All the fittings on the deck have been taken off and overhauled, and in most cases replaced with new Harken equipment including the traveler which has been replaced by a brand new Harken Traveler and car, and a new designed traveler system which will make it easier for me to trim the mainsail to its full potential.
All electronics have been re-wired, and in addition to the existing NKE instruments and Pilot system, a interface has been made with the newly installed Raymarine X5 Pilot, the majority of components found at heavily discounted prices, or lent to me by friends or family, allowing me to have a backup pilot incase for any reason the NKE fails. A third “Autohelm” pilot has been lent to me from my father from his 20ft trailer sailor in Australia, which will be packed in styrofoam for the Transat only to be bought out incase of complete failure. My Efoy charging system was re-conditioned before my last race, and I have now installed the computer display so I can monitor its power usage and turn it on and off as required. One major change in the electronic layout in the boat is that all the wiring now runs up the starboard side of the boat to prevent interference with the SSB receiver, which is the only way I will receive weather forecasts during the Transat.
Rudders have been taken off the boat to be re-sprayed, and at the same time the rudder gudgeons have been re-fastened and tightened up with locking nuts to insure that they don’t become loose after 4000nm of sailing. A new Tiller has also arrived, and I am currently modifying that to allow it to be used with the Raymarine deck pilot. A simple job (or so it would seem) to put a pin in place. But this requires cutting, re-filling, glassing, grinding to ensure that inserting the pin will not weaken the structure of the tiller at all.
My new bow rotator fitting has arrived after being lost in the post for a while, and is currently getting some slight modifications before I install it on the boat and re-fasten the pulpit at the same time, and install the new pole that I am currently building.
While I waited on parts to arrive and epoxy to dry, one fun job today was finally getting the new AUS 816 numbers on the mainsail and pasting on my Australian flag. With music playing (as always) I enjoyed this job, as it was one of the last on my list. And while there is still a lot of work to do before being on the start line of the Mini Transat, I now know I’m 96% there!