Southern California has treated the Dorade well, but this past week was the last full week that it is scheduled to be in the area, as the Transpac starts on Monday. This has caused Ben and I too have a very busy week, but exciting one. In order to make sure that the boat, trailer and truck would be ready to leave San Diego by Wednesday morning Ben and I put in hours on both Saturday and Sunday. Over the weekend we tackled many jobs, with Ben arriving on the boat earlier than I on Saturday in order to organize both the house, and rigging spares, in the afternoon we tackled the tasks of an oil change, as well as a transmission fluid. Along with this came changes to the oil filter, and the water filters. These needed jobs satisfied Ben, making him happy with these vital systems, yet many boat captains believe that a well prepared boat knows when she will be raced, and that’s when she misbehaves. I say this because after a long 12 hours of motoring, and an overnight rest in front of Gladstones restaurant here in Long Beach the Dorade has decided to spit off her alternator belt twice in the past two days. Let me back track to Sunday though. Our focus shifted from the internal systems of the Dorade, to the external necessities. Kevin had provided a very long list of sails which would be needed for the Transac, so we set to filling the forepeak after a slow Sunday morning; we then went about the boat triple checking that we had everything that would be necessary for the Transpac, as the trailer would soon be packed up. Before we could get the trailer prepped for sendoff we had to prepare our delivery sails, props and other necessities. This brings us into the work week.
Ben and I only spent the early part of the week at Driscolls boat yard. Monday and Tuesday where filled with final preparations, as I mentioned above. Monday morning had us saying good bye to our delivery provisions, which where thankfully picked up by the shipping company. This being one gave us time to focus on filling the trailer with sails cushions and other show pieces which had been in our rented container at the yard. Both the trailer and truck are going to be picked up on a flatbed to be brought to San Francisco, waiting for the Dorades return. Tuesday we focused on doing another check of the boat, and then protecting the newly varnished interior with protective tape, which also allows us to label where spares and tools have been stored. We of course worked on a few other jobs, to bring us to the close of our last full work day in San Diego. That evening Ben and I were invited out to the Harbor Town Pub by my gracious hosts Peter Isler and Mariam Torres. Peter also entertained the busy pub with some of his incredible guitar playing, accompanied by a vocalist. After our stomachs had been filled, Ben had sent me off for a bit of provisioning for what we planned on being an early Wednesday morning departure. Plans changed with the input of Greg Stewart, who filled Bens head with other ideas, and next thing you know the Dorade was slipping out of the harbor during the nights darkest hours. This nocturnal departure was a blessing though, as it allowed us to arrive in Rainbow Harbor in the early afternoon, just as Crew member Hannah Jenner jumped on to the dock to catch our lines after a Trans-Atlantic crossing, and a flight from her native United Kingdom. Our early evening arrival and the welcome sight of Hannah gave Ben and I time to do a full wash down, making the past weeks waxing efforts shine again, and making the Dorade a beautiful sight for the crowd that would gather the next night to take in the fireworks show.
There was still work to be done for the three of us, before we (or I as both Ben and Hannah are British) could celebrate Americas Independence. We were on point though, and able to divide and conquer the tasks we had planned too. Hannah worked hard at organizing and planning the media for the boat during the trip, while Ben jammed himself into the engine, where the alternator bracket had lost a bolt, asking for realignment. As I mentioned above though Bens efforts proved futile as the belt has been spit off yet again this morning, but reinforcements have been called in. This is while I was servicing our Jib Winches, and the Main Sail winch, which all needed doing, being that Hannah had serviced the rest during the Cabo Race. That evening the three of us took in the fireworks from the Dorade, it was a rather short show, but still spectacular. These festivities brought us to today, Friday the 5th, and this is when the real festivities begin.
This morning we finally have most of the crew assembled, with Kevin, Chewy and John all arriving over the past 12 hours. Kevin and Chewy came in laden with more new sails to be tested this afternoon and tomorrow. Unfortunately both Matt Brooks and Matt W. will not be able to make it this afternoon, but will of course be here in plenty of time for the start. On top of these two pre start outings there will be a pre race party, crew dinner and last minute tweaking by myself and the crew. Sunday will be a rest day for the crew, while Ben and I will ensure that the boat is the best possible shape for her Monday morning send off. I will update you on Monday after the boat has departed for beautiful Diamond Head.