It has been a full day. Ranging from an early morning encounter with another competitor, talking by Skype with enthusiastic school kids and some personality clashes on the Governing Board of the South Atlantic Residents Association. Our imminent entry to the Indian Ocean, has added to the tensions on board.
It was just after first light I came within one mile of Alan Roura, on La Fabrique, the Swiss entry. His sponsors range from the Interactive restaurant store complex of the same name to the City and Canton of Geneva, 7 Seas, Ropeye and several more Swiss firms. It was my first visual sighting of another entry for four weeks.
Alan was fast asleep, while his boat sailed happily along. She looked well as I sailed past, he and she faded through the brightening air.
There was no response to my VFH calls, my telephone calls on his two sat phones and my email. I was a little concerned, we had been in regular contact and have been comfort for each other - since both of us had gone away south on our own from the main bunch. To date this seems to have worked well since we have both made reasonable gains, yet both of us say we are not so concerned about the racing and just want to get around the Planet. Like hell.
A great sailor and strong personality, we have connected well. Previously when he took a detour along the North-West coast of Brazil within 3 mils of the coast for about 50 miles, I was concerned for him then.
It transpired they he did it in order to get within GSM range and to download some software to solve some problems, which he did. And it was with the approval of the race committee, since mobile phones are not allowed.
I need not have been concerned. On awaking Alan he called on the VHF, we had a great chat and all was well. He had just been very tired after a difficult four or five days through the gale we shared - and being on edge - as both of us were.
These remote comraderies runs deep. "Nobody can really understand what it like." Alan explained. In truth, most are smart enough not to find out.
Another highlight today was a Skype connection to St. Conleth's College in Dublin. Teachers Gavin Maguire & Tony Kilcommons were enthusiastic. It was organized by Noel Rabbitte of MSL Mercedes-Benz Ballsbridge Motors, sponsors of our schools programme.
We have had great take up at primary school level - and the bigger Atlantic Youth Trust charity's mission to connect youth with ocean and adventure.
The questions and interest from the classroom were brilliant and up lifting. On Skype, we had four cameras on the boat connected on the big screen in the classroom - including one on the mast looking forward - and I was able to explain different aspects of the boat.
I even went for a walk on the foredeck with the foredeck camera on and one child was worried that I might fall over and was glad when he saw me go back to the safety of the cockpit - 8.000 miles away on the Southern Ocean!!!
Meanwhile we had an emergency Council meeting of the South Atlantic Residents Association. Apparently, Mr Marlboro on the foredeck got soaked wet when Molly Malone, self-steering Department, altered course upwind instead of downwind - getting Marlboro man all wet. Also, I think there is a little insecurity and concern over our move to the Indian Ocean.
With this transition on Wednesday morning we are due to talk live with Ryan Tubridy on his morning 'guff' radio chat on progress to date.
Meanwhile to conclude, I thank Richard Moore on his comments on how I celebrated the start of my 5th week by a change of underwear.
Says he "Make sure that you don't exhaust your fresh underwear supply. You could quadruple your range by remembering to wear as follows:
· Inside out forwards
· Inside out backwards."
Thanks, Richard, great advice, and lets keep it just that.
President ( Elect)
South Atlantic Residents Association
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