Over the last few weeks the new rig has been fitted and tuned. Des McWilliam from One Sails came sailing to check out the shape of the new mast, and expects all the sails to be ready very soon. The last few pieces of equipment have been installed. The gas stove has been refurbished. New laptop connected up and configured for navigation, including installing charts for both sides of the Atlantic. Pretty much the only technology piece left is to get email working through the satphone. As always the one connector needed is impossible to find locally, but hopefully it will arrive in the next few days.
The satphone needs a special antenna, so we had to fit yet another addition to the bridge on the transom. Bob cleverly fashioned a mounting base to ensure a secure robust fit. You can see the new antenna on the right of the photo below, branded with the Inmarsat Sailor logo.

Satphone Antenna on Bridge

A lot of time has also gone into the more personal parts of preparation. I’ve been trying all sorts of different long life foods to find my favourites and finalise the menu for the trip. I’ll need to consume over 5,000 calories per day, which is actually pretty difficult to do under normal circumstances, never mind offshore when preparing food often involves acrobatics, and you never really feel hungry anyway! I’ve also nearly finalised my wardrobe for the race. Viking Marine have been very good to me helping to get specialist equipment for the job. Below you can see my new offshore drysuit. I’ve a funny feeling I’m going to spend a lot of time in this during the race…

Offshore Drysuit

Over the next few weeks I hope to sail as much as possible. I also have some survival and emergency medical courses to do. Dinah will have to come out of the water for a few days to have her bottom faired, and the appendages painted flourescant orange. At the same time we’ll add the boat number to the topsides and either side of the bow. The idea is to help a helicoptor identify the boat under any circumstances. There are many little jobs like this left to do. I bet I’ll be finishing some of them in Plymouth just before the start in May. I get the impression the list of jobs will keep growing to fill the amount of time available.