In the last ten days a lot has been achieved onboard Dorade. Most significant was getting through our inspection this evening for the Bermuda race with only a couple of minor action plans. The last couple of months have all been about racing to Bermuda and one step at a time we seem to be getting there. First of all was getting the boat up to Newport from the Caribbean which we did with very few dramas. Secondly was getting Dorade up on the hard and commencing all the necessary work that needs to be done to. Now we have pretty much completed our Bermuda inspection which feels like a great weight off my shoulders as I know Matt was a little concerned about the task in hand. Next step is to finish the job and get Dorade to Bermuda in style.
The inspection went smoothly with Kim, Jamie and John Burnham on the scene for support and despite the weather everybody seemed happy. What we have to remember is that the rules no matter how pedantic or ridiculous may seem, are there for our protection and the safety of our fellow competitors. All lessons learnt from the mistakes and misfortune of previous races.
Despite completing the race requirements we still have a huge task ahead over the next ten days before I will be satisfied we are ready. Unfortunately I am rarely 100% happy when leaving port as there always seems to be something else that you can do to make things more perfect. That’s just the way boats work and I am glad else I would not have a job!
This morning the sails finally arrived at LMI after a long trip up from the Caribbean so we whisked them into North Sails Rhode Island for numbering and checking over. Fortunately this morning I had Max Lucas (The Apprentice as I now call him) start work with us and if all goes well he will stay for the summer. So lots of heavy lifting for him.
Also ongoing are the butterfly hatches which our carpenter Daniel has been working on solidly now for over a week. Hopefully by the beginning of next week they will be back together and functioning better than when they were new. They are certainly looking much better and I am confident in his skills to get them working as was intended.
The new split pull pit design is taking place well and today we got the new frames tacked into place for a good look at how it will shape up and allow us the opportunity to make any adjustments before the final weld and polish take place. Kim gave it the ok from the inspection point of view and we intend to make a couple of small tweaks to maximise the space between each rail for doing head sail changes.
Joe Loughborough’s systems guy Nell’s has been working on a couple of things on board and has got the water maker working nicely again, fitted a fresh water foot pump in the galley, new start buttons for the engine in the cockpit and a better pump for discharging the sink water in the galley which all are going to make life on board a bit more pleasant.
Aussie Scotty has removed the windlass and cleat from the foredeck which will make that end of the boat a bit lighter whist also reducing the number of snag points for sails and lines. It was a mission to get it off but with some clever thinking away she came. Saying that I am not looking forward to putting it back on!
You have to ask yourself sometimes how far do I go in making this boat ready to go out and do well in this race. I’ve had experience of coming in second place after more than 4000 miles of racing with less than a minute between us. It didn’t feel good and left us all asking what else could we have done to have gained those 45 seconds. It’s the difference between a good tack and a bad tack so no stone is going to be left unturned to make this boat faster.
Our new racing stove is fitted in place now and looks the business; I look forward to eating the first meal cooked on her. Also Kyle is our canvass lady who has been making all sorts of strops, pockets and doors for the race which will enhance the experience.
Yesterday Jamie and I had a meeting with Mike Cecchi who is going to be our nutritionist for the race. Mike is the nutritionist for team Puma on the current Volvo Ocean Race so I feel like we are probably in good hands and should get a nice bit of grub along the way. He was talking about us eating nine thousand calories a day but I think we convinced him that maybe five thousand would be enough. I am not sure if a few of the crew will agree but this isn’t going to be a cruise to Bermuda, we are racing so freeze dried food is the way to go. Mmmm
I could go on for longer on what has been going on here but right now it slips my mind as there are so many minor projects going on. For now we have to focus on the week ahead with a schedule to get splashed again on Wednesday morning, the race prop fitted in the morning with the final touches to the rudder flaps and the hull and we will be all set.
I think we will stay at LMI until Thursday as we have all the workers and resources there to finish the last few touch ups before we move down stream to IYRS for the NYYC regatta this weekend.
That’s all right now but hopefully next time we will have some good results to talk about or at least have gained some good pre Bermuda testing.