20 February 2014 | Levington
There’s a change. Despite the truly atrocious weather we’ve been having, we’ve managed to take to boat out for a sail. Twice – in one week. Nothing adventurous, just the usual ‘Medusa & back’.
18NM of not having to do much: hoist the sails, switch off the engine, engage the autopilot, have a drink, sit back & enjoy the ride. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
What else? Planning mainly – the practicalities of taking the boat offshore and out into the Atlantic for the first time. Considered (and spent some money on) storage, supplies, electricity management, safety (fire), first aid, deck hardware,... We’re getting there. The boat should be all ready by early April (when we move from a pontoon berth to a swinging mooring).
The AZAB 2015 participation is unlikely to happen. It won’t be clear till the end of this year whether or not I will have enough time off work to be able to participate. And there is the matter of obtaining an IRC rating. We don’t currently have one, and since Guapa is not exactly a ‘standard production boat’ I would need to have her lifted, weighed and measured. This is not exactly cheap. Add to that the already ‘not cheap’ AZAB fee I have come to the conclusion that there are better things to spend my hard-earned cash on.
I’m not a serious racer anyway. I would have been a ‘participating is more important than winning’ kind of thing for me. A local or racing handicap would have been an option, but it appears the race organisers insist on an IRC rating. Got a rather condescending reply from them: QUOTE This is an extended open ocean race that will test both man and boat. It is absolutely necessary for the requirements of the Notice of Race to be met to enter the race. UNQUOTE WTF has this got to do with an IRC rating?
Whatever - never mind.
Does this mean the May trip is off the calendar? Not in the least. I’ve got my mind set on this thing. It’s given me a purpose- a short term and achievable goal.
What it does mean though, since I won’t be needing a 500NM qualifying cruise, is that I can break up the trip North in two more manageable chunks.
Plan A: Harwich – Peterhead – Thorshavn.
Assuming an average speed of 6kts, this would mean two legs of 3 days & 2 nights. A break halfway in would mean I could catch up on sleep before fatigue became a real issue. As I would be within spitting distance of land most of the way up, I am anticipating some traffic (and hence little sleep).
Peterhead is also near Aberdeen and there are cheap Easyjet flights from Luton should anyone in the family fancy to join me for a leg (or two). Wink, wink – nudge, nudge.
Plan B: Harwich – Great Yarmouth – Bergen & Stavanger
This would still be a 500NM passage, but further offshore. So, I anticipate less traffic and more opportunities to get my head down.
Whether we end up going Plan A or Plan B, either is fine by me. If we don’t manage to secure a berth in Brittany in 2015, we can always venture north again next year.
So, what’s on the agenda in the short term? Fitting out the boat – making her ‘ready for sea’. I can see a few father & son boat-fixing days on the horizon.
That’s it for now people. Catch you later.
PS: I’ve also added a ‘Winter 2013’ album to the gallery. Enjoy.