Friday, 20 January 2017

Unfinished business....

...like me and Lymington (or perhaps not...  ), but unfortunately it was not to be for Alex Thomson in the Vendee Globe - despite making up the better part of 900 miles between the south and north Atlantic, instrument issues in the last couple of hundred miles with his wind kit - which he feeds to his automatic pilot for sailing to a wind angle, and also a steering issue, meant that he only managed to sleep for four or five hours in the last 48 (and when he crossed the line he's been up 24 hours straight) and the lead slipped away from him...

Despite that he took two records in this race - furthest 24hr distance (which he actually did twice, but the first time not by enough to be counted as a new record), and also fastest to the equator in the Vendee Globe...  he was 100 miles ahead when a collision with something under water took off one of his foils so this makes the result even more stunning...  and he's already talking about the next race!

Someone on the pontoon managed to get a shot of the broken foil

He comes across as a really nice bloke, so congratulations to him on his second and also Armel on his first - and look who was there on the pontoon to meet him - superb sportsmanship and a lovely photo..

Well done Alex!!


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

GO ALEX!!

Must be in to the last 48 hours of the race, and I'm not sure I can put up with the tension....

So Alex has been in a drag rag race with Armel le Cleac'h for the last 10 or so days...  from one end of the Atlantic to the other and they are now within 500 and a bit nautical miles of the finish line, but they're doing 10-20 knots depending on wind strength/direction so I think they'll be in by end of Wednesday...

… Alex's eaten another five miles out of the lead since last night, when I last looked, and it looks like they’re going northerly as the forecast shows winds blowing direct from Sables, but look at the speed comparison! Going to be stupidly close…
 
Piccie courtesy Vendee Globe site [clicky] 

...and just in case it's not been noted

"Between 0700 UTC on 15 January 2017 and 0700 UTC today, Alex Thomson notched up 536.81 nautical miles on Hugo Boss, beating the previous world record for the greatest distance sailed solo in 24 hours. Thomson sailed Hugo Boss at an average speed of 22.36 knots (!!), and his 24-hour distance beats the record of 534.48 miles set by French sailor François Gabart in the 2012-13 edition of the Vendée Globe".

By the by he's also got the record for the fastest sailor to reach the equator since the Vendee Globe started....

Oh, and all of this with one broken foil! Astonishing, even for an unashamed Alex fan-boy like me...

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

...and they're off...

Not exactly the most scintillating of posts, but at least it means I can report that the behemoth is not dead, just moribund...Someone clearly found a working electric cattle prod, as work has started (at last!) on the winter job list.. 

#20- Service Life Jackets - Done

Unpacked, checked for wear, cylinders weighed and checked against previous year (same), then finally manually inflated, and left for 24 hours...


...still up, so deflated, check the cylinders are firmly screwed in, then jacket's folded, repacked - jobs done..


#12 - Replace the cockpit hatches

I took the old hatches, traced round them on to the remaining hardwood ply I had from last time, and cut out the two new replacement hatches with the trusty jig saw... I remember it was a right pain last time, with not a straight edge to be seen, this time it was better, I put the blade on maximum speed and locked the power on so I could move round the cutting area more easily without stopping the saw.. still not perfect, but better than before! 

These are now sitting in a warm dry space to dry out before I one, check them for size, and then two, give them a coat of epoxy...  no mucking about this time - they're going to be bullet proof when I attach them

#4 - Cabin lights..

Somewhat irritatingly my soldering iron that I only bought last year refused to warm up..  this is what comes I guess of using cheap... either way the light strips I bought came with one set of wires already soldered, so I attached spades to all of these (to make it easier to take them out should I need to at a later date), I then quickly tested them from the car battery just to make sure they are working..  they were, and very bright.. My plan is still to mount them under the shelves in the cabin as downlighters, one on the port side (short shelf) and then two on the starboard side, with the fourth one in the forward cabin..  if they work out, then at that price I may well get a few more..


Saturday, 31 December 2016

Swallows and Amazons.. a review

It is probably a little known fact that Steve the Wargamer (for that is I, a pen name I took from my other interest ) developed a love of sailing purely as a result of Arthur Ransome ... seriously... I have no other explanation for the fact that I have always wanted to sail, own boats, and be on the water since an early age...

I must have discovered Ransome when I was about 11 or 12? So over forty mumble mumble years ago..  and I devoured them...  repeatedly... and in fact I still read them now.

The books hark back to a quieter time, when kids were allowed out to have real adventures, before mobile phones/computers and all the other "labour saving" bolleaux that now infests our every activity, existed..

Ransome wrote a number of children's sailing books which featured the Swallows (the Walker family children) and the Amazons (the Blacketts).. he also wrote a few featuring the Callum children (Dot and Dorothea) who featured in the Swallows and Amazons books, but also featured in a  couple of stories Ransome wrote set in the Norfolk Broads - the majority of the books though were set in the Lake District and featured the Walkers and the Blacketts and their sailing and camping based adventures...

Which is a long preamble with the aim of pointing out that I had very high expectations of this film based on a life long love of the books.

So this is the film of the first book, and I'll say up front, I do hope the company responsible please please please makes some more, as I thought the film was extraordinarily good..

Set in the mid-30's (which is slightly later than the book but not enough to make a difference, and by the way the period detail in the film is fantastic) the book is about the first meeting of the Swallows and the Amazons, while the Swallows are camping on an island in the middle of the lake...  there is the same back story of Captain Flint (the Amazons Uncle Jim who lives on a houseboat) as in the book, there is also the same story of the "war" between the Swallows and Amazons over the island, and the midnight raids to capture each other boats..  so far, so very much like the book..  and the boats and the sailing clips were really good....

What the film has done though, is to also put in a sub plot where Uncle Jim is being hunted by a couple of Russian spies...  not in the book, and a lot of people have got quite hung up on it, but I thought it fitted well and was quite clever - Ransome himself was alleged to have been involved in Russian politics (he lived there for a time and was married to a Russian). It didn't overwhelm the original story, and I thought it was a clever way of explaining the theft from the houseboat (which in the book was just burglars)...

An excellent film - well worth a watch - 9/10