White Ocean Racing

Ten Day Boat refurbishment

Click pictures to see full sized images

Spirit of Weymouth is ready to be changed.

Toe in The Water is almost ready.

Toe in The Water being launched.

November 2nd - Review of the boat preparation.

Audio Clip courtesy Trigone/VendeeGlobe

Three months work in two weeks

While for the majority of skippers and shore teams of the Vendée Globe fleet these final few weeks are usually about working through the small final jobs, tapering down to the start, for Steve White and Spirit of Weymouth there is now a clamour to ensure that he will be ready on time.

White arrived in Les Sables d’Olonne last week not knowing if he would have enough money to actually start the race which has been his dream for more than 10 years.

He admits that he shed a tear or two with the sheer emotion of finally arriving and taking his place in the line up at the dock.

On Monday he received confirmation that he has secured enough money to realise his dream and take on the race – he expects to announce details of his sponsorship in the next few days – so the last two days have been about racing to put in place the final pieces of his Vendée Globe jigsaw.

With no money to pay a shore team, help has been his immediate family, so his initial problem was one of manpower to get through his jobs list.

Initially he was pretty much drowning, but now with help sourced, equipment bought or borrowed and a fairly comprehensive jobs list to deal with, White feels he is on top of the task.

Having now taken up the offer from local Ben Carbone and a friend to undertake a complete repaint of the bottom of the hull and the foils of Spirit of Weymouth (ex Gartmore), and sourcing a cradle from La Rochelle, splashes from Akena Veranda, the boat will be lifted out the water today ready to have the hull prepared and painted.

“We have a generator arriving today, and so I feel relaxed and much more positive today, but I am sure that the will be millions of small things come up along the way that I’ll need to deal with them.” Smiled White today, “But the cradle is arriving in the commercial port, they are very relaxed and professional there, so we are relaxed there. We have a guy who has painted a lot of the boats here who is going to paint our boat, and so that is something I can just tick off an not worry about.”

A matter of days ago White looked stressed and troubled, “It felt that I was bashing away on the boat and struggling with the language barrier a bit a few days ago, but now it is coming together, as it always does.”

“The scaffolding will arrive. Ben has someone who has agreed to help paint for nothing, which is great. A friend from England is coming and bringing the paint from Marineware who have done us a really good deal. And then the mast is coming out and Lancelin are getting the rigging made and helping us.”

He is not aware of the number of articles locally which have been telling of his dream and his plight:

“I don’t know because I have not seen the articles in the French press saying that it has been a bit of a struggle for us, because we don’t have a massive budget. Everyone says you should write a book, and I don’t really think people know what it has been like until we write a book, but at the moment I am just so happy to be here and all the struggles are forgotten at the moment.”

But now the stresses are reducing, it is a matter of time and human effort to make the boat ready: “You have a jobs list. You get up in the morning and if necessary you stay up through the next night and the next until there are no jobs left, or more accurately the jobs left are not big ones, so you are in a state where you can go. That is only work. The problem and the stress has been when everything has been in the hands of other people. When you have sponsors who may or may not decide to help, or may or may not decide to call you back, that is a difficult way to live. But here, now, everything is in our control it is just a question of doing the work.”

“We now have someone working on the PR side and we will make an announcement in the next few days.”

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