Onwards and upwards, that’s been the theme over the last little while. We’ve got the boat absolutely fully operational now, we can jump on it and reliably go anywhere (providing we have a crew!), and the only things left on the jobs list are the nicer tasks, like whipping the ends of mooring lines and splicing up nice rope strops, changing a few small blocks for some bigger ones with less friction and so on. Next week we’ll get those sorted, all being well. I don’t think we’ve done badly getting to this stage with just two of us, along with occasional help from friends – Volvo 70s have dozens of shore crew as the boat is very technical, and there are just lost of….. well….. bits….. everywhere! Halliard locks, hydraulics, generators, string and lots and lots of electronics.

It’s funny, with the Open 60, I could just jump on it, be sailing within minutes of leaving the berth, then pack it up and park it on my own at the other end. With this boat, however, there’s so much freeboard that I need help just to get it on and off the dock, as it’s such a big step up to get onboard that if the boat moves a foot away from the pontoon I can’t reach it! Whilst I can get the sails up alone and get the boat sailing, (providing I have someone acting as an autopilot for me) silly things like putting in a reef are not possible without three people! Once we get an autopilot and sort out the reefing business then I will be able to sail it completely alone…….providing there’s someone there to cast me off and to catch my lines at the other end!

The coming weeks will see us getting the boat more user friendly for short handed work, and if I can find a pilot ram from somewhere then we can get that up and running, as I’ve bought all of the other bits over the past six months from here and there. However, I’m hoping it won’t be long before we get some sponsorship budget and can do the full solo conversion on the boat, that will be fun.

Last week we did a test sail to Cherbourg, as well as getting some on board shots with our friends from LPB Aerial That was the first time we’ve wound the boat up offshore for a while, with a sub four hour channel crossing! Here’s to a few more of those; you can still enter our competition to win a weekend on the boat if you fancy a go yourself.

Bye for now,