White Ocean Racing

Reports 25 December

25 December - Yacht Pals Comment - The DIY King.

The DIY king of this race, Steve White, has had his share of problems. His autopilot keeps giving out at the most inopportune moments, causing him to tack violently and sending everything flying across the cabin - repeatedly. With almost zero budget, Steve's become quite adept at fixing things, and it's likely that this is just another bump on the road to the finish. Of all the yachts in the fleet, the nearly Corinthian entry of Toe in the Water may inspire the most. Steve has shown that, if you believe in yourself, on your own boat and by the sweat of your brow, you can do it.

25 December - Blog 13 - Steve's Christmas Blog.

As I sit and write this, listening to my Christmas CD, I can see on my starboard side white foam covering the backs of the waves as they go away from me, and to the port side a confused and heaped, untidy sea with haphazard waves left by the big wind shift we had last night, all a glorious deep blue under a bright sun. To windward there is a huge and ominous black cloud that looks like it will be trouble - we have already had a few squalls where the wind goes from thirty to fifty five knots quicker than you can count and suddenly I am not undercancvassed any more - the sea becomes a total white-out with sleet and rain and the boat charges off like a mad thing banging and crashing into the big cross sea at over twenty knots and threatening to shake the generator loose and rattle the teeth from your head. The barometer is as low as it can go but still falling, and I don't have a proper handle on the weather situation as it is very confused and complicated at the moment, and to top it alI I am really having to nurse the boat as the gooseneck pin which holds the boom to the deck has broken, and if I am not careful the boom will come off - that problem has finished a few people's races, but I am sure there is a way to repair it, just not at the moment - it's difficult enough to stand up - so all in all not ideal really, and not how I thought Christmas would be a couple of days ago.

Still, it will calm down and I will get the boom off and sort it out - nothing last for ever. Patrick the rigger kindly said he would check his e-mails over Christmas in case I had trouble, and about six hours later I e-mailed him to say I had a problem! He and Josh are thinking about a solution, as am I, and we have some ideas, but until then I am on a bit of a go slow which is the most frustrating part. Still, this is a temporary setback, and you have to offset it against the good stuff, it could be much worse and I am here of my own choosing - if I had to close the toolbox I'd get bored anyway just sailing and watching the birds! I would like to try bored for a while if that could be arranged though......just to see.

Even though it is I suppose sometime in the afternoon here I am dying for everyone at home to get up so I can ring them! It is odd not to be there today, but I'm not the only one, many people are not at home with their families where they should be at this time of year, and in particular as you enjoy your families today spare a thought for our servicemen and women who are posted abroad in all those trouble spots around the world, for whom I can assure you it will be business as usual.

Kim's reply to he broken gooseneck was "You should have taken your welder"........I haven't got it needless to say, but if anyone has a book entitled "How to make a lathe using a marine diesel engine, a screwdriver and other things commonly found on an IMOCA 60" I would very much like to hear from them, that would be a great present!

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