The summer was fantastic. I have gained so many experiences in the past few months that it surprises me to look back on them. Did I really do all that?
And now everything must seem very quiet to regular followers of this blog. This is something of an illusion. Two things are happening. I’m having to get on with some work. But also I’m quietly planning all the things I want to do with Tammy Norie before spring.
The next goal on my long term plan is the Jester Baltimore Challenge 2015: solo sailing from Plymouth to Baltimore in June. While not yet a true ocean crossing, it’s a significant bit of offshore solo sailing, and I need to prepare.
The most important item on the list is mechanical self-steering gear. Tammy Norie’s electronic tiller pilot has done well over the summer, but it sometimes plays up, fails to keep a course in some conditions, and I’ve managed to break it once already. I want a reliable wind vane, and I’ll keep the tiller pilot as backup.
I plan to build a Hebridean. Building my own self-steering will not only be interesting, it’ll give me a thorough understanding, and a much better chance of being able to repair or adapt the gear. It’s also a cheap option. If the Hebridean doesn’t work out, I will have lost only a little money and learned a great deal.
The second item on my list is to either make Tammy Norie unsinkable or repair the liferaft. My plans for making her unsinkable involve lining her with foam and that includes fixing up the headlining, so it might be a good move in any case.
I would like to have a Jordan series drogue ready. I’ve had various opinions on this. Most people think I’m unlikely to need one for the Baltimore challenge, but several have also said that I really should have one in general, given Tammy’s small size. So I’m going to see if I can get this done too.
I would also like to build a new sail, so that I have more flexibility in adverse conditions. This is quite a big job, probably involving re-engineering the mast step, so it may not get done this winter. The current sail is good enough, and it’s not a safety issue.
There are, of course, various bits of kit I need: a simple reliable GPS, an SSB radio receiver, a distress beacon (though I may just rent an EPIRB for the Baltimore challenge). I have a much longer list of things I’d like to have, but those are the only ones I think I ought to have before going offshore.
And of course, sailing! I’ll get Tammy on a mooring in Portsmouth Harbour as soon as I can for some autumn and winter sailing.
I’ll be writing about each of these projects in time, so watch this space!