With only 3 days left there is not much time to make final preparations to the RG650 Mini number 816 before the start of the 2013 Mini Transat Race. Almost all the gear is now off the boat, and for the past few days the living room in our house has looked like a preppers rats nest, with sails, clothes, bags, rope, charts, water jerry cans, flash lights, batteries, safety equipment, food bags and tools stacked in neat piles. As the waterproof bags get packed, and every item gets checked off the list, and the bags labled we begin to see the carpet again and I know I am getting close to being 100% prepared.
All measurement and checkoffs are nearly complete, bar the near disaster of not having an AIS system onboard. The AIS was found to have a fault where it would only operate in low power mode, which means no transmission of my position to other vessels. Unfortunatly there is no time to get a new PCB card for the unit so I have no option but to buy a new one. Even the new unit was hard to source, and I was lucky to manage to organise to receive it before the start of the race (fingers crossed).
Brett Perry has done a fantastic job re-rigging the boat and we have done a close inspection of all possible chafe areas and covered them with some high quality cover supplied by Brett, Alpha Ropes, and Todd from Doyle Rigging Palma. Thanks to all who have contributed to the endless supply of rope and rigging for the boat over the past few months, and a special thanks to Harken who have replaced all the deck hardware on the boat.
Sails have been taken to the loft and on the advice of previous Mini Transat veterans have had reinforcements made to the batten ends, and any signs of possible chafe have been covered to ensure that the rigging does not wear throughout the sail. New stickers have also been put on the boat including a picture that was given to me from a local school. Today we were also applying Glowfast tape to the mainsail and solent, but we were rudely interrupted in our task when our 100 euro roll of tape mysteriously disappeared from the loft floor! Really!!!!
Accurate weather information is the key to this race, and while the race committee do a daily weather sked, most of it is in french and transmitted at low power. My father John Hewson has come up with an excellent solution by placing a good aerial on the back of the boat and amplifying the SSB signal with a box that he has designed. This fantastic piece of brilliance in a box will enable me to get a clear forecast from the UK Met and NOAA in the USA in a format that I understand and which will enable me to map out the weather systems across the pacific multiple times a day. In turn this will enable me to create some accurate weather routing – the old fashion way with slide rulers and maths as we are not allowed any computers or electronic navigation aids during the race. My father has also designed a special “Wake Up!” box that uses a timing system to ensure I do not fall to sleep for more than 90minutes at a time. The timer can be set at increments of 10 minutes so I can set it prior to resting to make sure I don’t sleep for too long and miss a wind shift or the opportunity to keep a regular lookout for shipping and other yachts. The alarm is special because it has three levels of “wake up” noise starting from a low level beep, to a full scale siren. I don’t think I will be sleeping through that one!
Of course prior to the race I will use all the modern technologies available and compare polars from a range of programs. A special thanks to Richard Dobbs who I will be navigating for in the Sydney to Hobart and who has leant me his program to run some very special software that is a vital part of pre race tactical and navigation planning.
As some wise yachtsmen have told me, the key to this race is sleep and nutrition. Sleep deprivation training is going well, as I am currently sitting up typing this blog at 2am trying to tire myself to sleep. Nutrition is a vital part of this race and I am lucky enough to have my sister Amanda Hewson from Palma Health here to fatten me up before the big race and also prepare my daily food bags for the race.
The designer of the boat Nico and the boat builder have also come to the party, and have been helping with a few items on the boat plus installing my new buoyancy to ensure the RG is identical to all other RG650 series boats
One this is for sure, the boat is looking and performing fast and RG650 team are looking flash walking the docks in our team uniform. A good looking boat is always a fast boat, and the RG650 is a rocket ship!
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Thankyou to: http://www.profurl.com, http://www.harken.com, http://www.yachtmoving.es, http://www.equipyacht.com, http://www.zhik.com, http://www.rg650europe.com, http://www.boatbooks-aust.com.au All donations and sponsorship greeatly appreciated.