Archive for September, 2013
September 30, 2013
Delivery day to the race village for the Mini Tranasat Race! Off the dock this morning to deliver OGOC to Douarnenez. No trackers onboard for this run, but we’ll be travelling up the coast past Les Glenans, through the Raz de Sein and then into the Bay of Douarnenez. It’s looking like it will be about a 14 hour spinnaker run in 8-10 knots of wind building to 15 in some spots. Woohoooo! 13 days to the start of the#MiniTransat Race.
September 29, 2013
At 16 days to go to the start of the Mini Transat race, we’re almost ready to move the boats to Douarnenez to the race village. One of today’s missions was to go to Port La Foret to pick up the new bow sprit for OGOC. Port La Foret is one of the great places where some of the famous Open 60s hang out. I rounded the corner and saw this!!! Sam Davies’ Open 60 from the last Vendée Globe. Another inspirational moment
Then at the next corner I saw this. Vincent Riou’s PRB!
September 24, 2013
Let the loading of stuff begin! With 18 days left to the start of the Mini Transat race, it’s time to finish sorting the boat, get the gear loaded and move to Douarnenez. We’re even dressing ship with some Raymarine sparkle.
Finally, the jobs list is starting to get shorter. For the last week it’s been a steady process of stroking one thing off the list and adding two things on to the list. Finally today the list was actually shorter at the end of the day. We’ve also been very fortunate with the weather. It’s been sunny and warm in September in Lorient…something that is unusual for this rain and drizzle ridden coast. Hopefully that nice weather will hold for our test sail on Friday!
September 21, 2013
We’re in! Launched, mast up and tuned. Tomorrow the sails go onboard BUT, talk about excitement….there’s a big event at the Base de Sous Marins this weekend and all the kids have come to play!
Banque Populaire, Safran, Bureau Vallee, Cheminee Poujoulat and Groupama just to name a few. It’s absolutely awe inspiring to walk down the dock these days!
September 19, 2013
One of the many key aspects to racing fast and safe across the Atlantic Ocean is being able to understand the weather and to know what to do with it. That means learning from the experts. Throughout the world we have influencing tides, current, weather systems and land effects. Their net result becomes our “local phenoms” that we race in. Even if you are racing across the Atlantic Ocean, you still have to understand how and why the weather does what it does and what to do with it. Soooo, SkyWeb Express brought in an expert to teach us all about the weather through the Bay of Biscay, down the Portuguese Coast and past the Straits of Gibralter to the Canary Islands and then for the big leap across the Atlantic to Guadeloupe.
Our weather expert is Jean Yves Bernot. Not only does he specialize in offshore racing weather, but he is the weather expert for such incredible names as Michel Desjoyeaux, Ellen MacArthur, Vincent Riou and Francois Gabart. The list of accolades goes on. Not only that, but it was a fun and exciting training session, providing us with incredibly valuable tools to navigate the complex weather systems that will come our way throughout the Mini Transat Race. Thanks very much SkyWeb Express for making this happen. You not only get people around with your Point to Point Transportation on land, but now you also get people around on the ocean!
September 15, 2013
One massive installation finished! The new Raymarine Evolution Autopilots are installed and ready to go. This was probably the easiest installation I have ever done. The actual installation of the system only took a bit of time to fish the wires through odd stations on the mini. Unlike a conventional boat where you have lockers and cabinetry or for that matter a “down below”, OGOC only has self contained sections flooded with flotation foam and a small hole drilled through to pass wiring. So the real effort was in pulling out the old system, drawing up a schematic of the new system, re configuring the mounting and tying back systems and making sure it was all tidy and won’t get damaged when moving the equipment around in the boat “stacking”. Every time we tack or change the angle to the wind with the boat, we have to move ALL of the equipment inside the boat to balance it out. That means that it’s critical to be able to drag stuff from one side of the boat to the other without catching on wiring and damaging the system.
Here’s the new ACU 100 pilot heads.
And the accompanying EV1 Sensor Core tucked right up under the cabin top looking like a little UFO!
And finally, the rest of the wiring throughout the boat.
Can you believe this whole installation went off without a hitch. When I powered up the system there were no error messages, no inappropriate blips or bleeps or anything! I am so excited about getting out on the water and trying it out. First I’ll need to fish new coax in the mast and rig the mast up and hopefully at the end of the week we’ll be in the water for our first training run with the new system. Good news is that I found the GoPro!
The last few days have been like Christmas morning. Opening up packages, marveling at the contents, getting all giddy with all the little parts and pieces has been my fun for the past few days. Raymarine has furnished One Girl’s Ocean Challenge with the new Evolution Autopilot system. There are two new ACU100 autopilots, an EV1 sensor core, GPS unit, controllers and all the fantastic backbone cabling to hook it all up! Most sailors would be a little apprehensive about setting up a new onboard system just before a big race. I on the other hand…..am super excited about it! The previous Raymarine onboard system had worked way way above and beyond it’s task of pushing OGOC over thousands and thousands of miles. An upgrade was well in order and the new Raymarine system is very exciting! This pilot functions off of a “back bone” cabling system that runs through the boat with “spur” cables that hook in to the backbone. This new design reduces a significant amount of cabling throughout the boat and allows me to put the displays anywhere I want. The new EV1 Sensor Core replaces the traditional gyro compass and constantly feeds data back to the computer head based on 9 axis of rotation. It also requires almost no calibration upon setup! Then, the system continuously learns how the boat moves in different conditions and slurps up the information into its database.
Here’s the previous computer heads. OGOC has two completely independent autopilot systems. That way, if one fails, the other one is ready to put in play. Twice now in my racing, I’ve had to switch to pilot #2. It’s a nice little maze of wires and notes written throughout the boat of which wires do what…just incase I need to do some emergency surgery on the system!
The new computer heads take up significantly less space. The cabling system will also be greatly reduced once the installation is complete.
The controllers (wind, boat speed and depth and autopilot)
have also been changed out for the new P70 autopilot controller, i60 wind controller and i50 depth and speed controller. The displays are beautifully clear and consume less power!
Ultimately, the whole boat’s wiring has been explored. It’s been a very good exercise. The wiring on the boat was fantastically done by the previous owner, but it was uncharted territory for me….literally! Now I’m building a proper schematic of the system. It’s an awesome tool for the “just incase” moments onboard!
September 10, 2013
33 Days to the start of the Mini Transat Race and the work is well underway. Fortunately, the boat was in excellent shape when I left France three months ago! But nevertheless, OGOC is in final preparations for race mode. The first objective was to pull the little hood off of the companionway where all of the clutches are and fix one of the solar panels. There was a dodgy bolt in there that kept catching on the panel and was threatening to rip it apart. In an effort to save the panel during the spring training, I removed it, but now the panel needs reinstating. The hood was removed….dodgy bolt knocked down to size and the hood was reinstated.
The next task is the one that everyone cringes at but I seem to love.
Sanding…..sanding…and more sanding! The bottom of the boat needs to be slick like butter. OGOC has the coolest bottom paint that sparkles up nicely. A little presanding with some 800 grit and then extra hard muscle work to burnish the bottom and she shines up like metal! The bottom is only part of the “below the waterline work”. Next up is the keel and rudders. They have had many years of different colours of bottom paint as the traditional orange fluoro paint isn’t readily available back home. Now it’s time to renew the orange and make her bright and smooth again. On goes the mask, crank up the sander and prep for paint. Then it’s that wonderful job of sanding again.
September 7, 2013
The short list of work to do on the boat includes such things as: renewing the non skid in the cockpit floor and a few of her dents throughout in the gel, renewing the fluoro paint on the keel and rudders, reinstating a bunch of hardware that has been replaced, reinstating all of the standing rigging for the mast and last but certainly not least…..installing all of our glorious new Raymarine electronics and autopilots and a new vhf radio from Icom.
Over the years, CMC Electronics continues to provide OGOC with amazing technical support of our autopilots and various onboard electronics. They have absolutely pulled me out of the fire, corrected my errors in installations, helped me with trouble shooting and certainly gone above and beyond the call. A solo sailor is only as good as their autopilot. Without it we can’t leave the dock! Well now thanks to CMC Electronics we are welcoming Raymarine onboard.
OGOC will be going into the Mini Transat race with THE state of the art…top of the line autopilot system! In the next few days we will be installing the Raymarine Evolution Autopilots.
This new Evolution autopilot system is taking the world of autopilots to a whole new level with their innovative breakthrough in intelligence. The Evolution autopilot perceives its environment and instantly calculates and evolves steering commands to maximize performance. The result is precise and confident course keeping, regardless of vessel speed or sea conditions. So thanks to CMC Electronics, welcome to our newest partners Raymarine!