Archive for May, 2009

Busy busy!!!

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Updated forecast during the night showed every OSTAR competitors dream. A windy spinnaker run allowing a route directly for the Flemish Cap. One snag though… Since losing a halyard to the top of the mast the other day I knew I’d have to go climbing in order to get the halyard back so as to take full advantage.

The forecast gave a lighter patch around dawn and I decided that was my best opportunity. Through a freezing cold night I planned everything
methodically. Nightmare scenario would be to get stuck up top obviously.

Sure enough just before dawn the light patch arrived and I started preparing
in earnest. It was tough work climbing up there, and I came down with quite
a few bruises. But the view of the rolling Atlantic from up top was truly
incredible. Absolutely nothing to be seen apart from big rolly waves as far
as the eye could see.

I was surprised to find that the Wichard snap shackle on the offending
halyard had actually warped under the load and simply didn’t fit together
any more. And that was after deliberately paying top dollar for the bigger
version than specified!

Anyway, I dragged it back down the mast with me, and I’ll splice a
replacement shackle on there later in the day. As soon as I came down the
breeze filled in nicely, and I hoisted the spinnaker immediately. Running
now in nice sunny light conditions. The deck of the boat looks like a
laundry with all my wet clothes drying in the sunshine. I won’t tell you
what I’m left wearing… Ahhh, the freedom….

I think I deserve a little brandy in my coffee this morning after getting so
much done even before breakfast. It’s going to be a fun few days coming up!

I got a few texts to say people had heard the interview on Seascapes last
night, and I believe the VOR festival in Galway is in full swing. Somebody
have a beer for me!

Off to enjoy the sunshine for a bit while it’s here. Talk to you later…


Back in the land of the living!

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Today marks the first day of normality since the diesel issue earlier in the
week. I’m eating again, the boat smells ok and is dry, everything’s falling
into place! I did another interview for Seascapes this morning. First human
voice I’ve heard in days. Very strange. It should be out on RTE Radio 1
tonight along with the Volvo Ocean Race coverage, and it’ll be available by
podcast tomorrow.

It’s funny how after a few days offshore you get so used to napping.  I just
ate lunch. Good work making lunch Barry, you probably deserve a nap after
that! Yeah, the boat seem pretty comfortable on her own, why not? Just a
little one… Fifteen minutes later back up looking for the next excuse to
go down again… That wave looked pretty wet Barry, do you need a little nap
to recover?

I’ve had a look at the tracks of the other boats now too. Hannah is playing
a blinder. Fair play. She’s on for a record run if she keeps that up. I’m
really going to suffer overall for the few zombie-like days, but perhaps I
can manage to redeem myself within my own class. How many times over the next few weeks will I remind myself it’s a marathon, not a sprint…?

The messages are coming in from Blogstar now. Great to receive the texts
from all of you. Some of the texts led me on a treasure hunt around my own
boat! The guys from WOW the Farr42 in Dublin had hidden a great new pair of sunglasses back amongst the ballast plumbing, and it really cheered me up
searching round for them. Thanks guys! They’re getting ready for an offshore
from Dun Laoghaire to Dingle this weekend, and the very best of luck to them.
I’ve also discovered miniature bottles of alcohol in various locations. You
all know me so well!!!

I’d best go check the trim upstairs. And then possibly a quick nap…


Diesel. Yuck!

Thursday, May 28th, 2009


Morning all,

It’s Thursday morning, and this is my first blog from the race. Unforgivable really. I do have a good excuse though. For the last few days
I haven’t been able to look at the computer without getting sick. In fact I haven’t been able to do much at all without getting sick!

A few days ago a can of diesel released its contents into the bilges, so now everything feels, smells and tastes of diesel. Really not pretty. So everytime I went below I’d get sick. Everytime I’d put my glove near my nose same thing. So I’ve been steadily working through the boat with Fairy Liquid trying to mop up any ounce od diesel I can find. Not easy, but I’M GETTING THERE.

This morning I was able to keep down some crackers and get the boat back up to speed. About time! I’m very weak though, and the smell of diesel is still pervasive.

No real sailing news. Its been horrid windy pure upwind. Just what’s expected of Ostar. Havent seen anything but water now in two days. Not even a bird!

I see from the position reports this morning the usual suspects are screaming ahead while I’ve had my Marigolds on. Well, in a few days time I will surely have expunged all this horrid diesel and will be on my way back to full fitness. Everybody tells me this is a marathon, not a sprint. I certainly hope so, as I havent been sprinting very well!

Apparently I was on the Irish television news the other night (looking better than i do now I’m sure) and I’ll be on RTE Radio One Seascapes again tomorrow night, chatting with broadcaster Tom MacSweeney from mid-Atlantic. Also I believe the messages from the Blogstar site have bere going to my work mail account, so that should be fixed today too… Please do try again…or use the free SMS Text Message service available here.



Fan Club on BlogSTAR

Thursday, May 28th, 2009


All on the BlogSTAR website.