Monday, December 25, 2006

Repairs complete 24 Dec,06 - 10.07

They say three is a luck number. Repairs are complete, rudder cable re-enforced and a back up system has been put in place. Will be starting my third attempt shortly.
While we were busy with the repairs, the Coastguard has been alerted to past rescues and the risk. And the fact that an ocean rower was lost at sea in 2004. They have imposed new restrictions with immideate effect, including filing papers for new safety requirements, additional flares and a 300,000 Eur cover.
Anyway, cracking thru the paperwork. Will just have to KBO.
Hope to start the third attempt in the next few days.
Will keep you posted.
All the best to everyone for '07!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Day 2 - Broken Rudder 22 Dec, 06 - 3.05

Here is a bit more details since the last post. Do not seem to be having much luck.
8.20 am
Good conditions to start with. Breeze about 2 knots.
The first 2 hrs were a bet stressful, getting out of the harbour before one of the large ferrys showed up.
I rowed for 5 hrs non stop, trying to get away from La Gomera and to get enough milage in during the first day to put me a safe distance from El Hierro.
The boat felt like it weighed a ton.
Safely out of the harbour by around 1.00 pm the winds changed direction and started blowing from the south at about 10 knots. Sea got rough with waves about 2m.
The wind started to blow me back towards land. The boat was taking waves beam on and I was desperately trying to bring the boat around with the bow onto the waves.
I spent 3 hours struggling to maintain the reverse compass on a bearing of 180 degrees with the needle constantly swinging between 165 and 200. Every time I managed to bring it around, the wind would swing it around in a matter of seconds. In the end, due to my rowing in one direction and the wind pushing it in the other, the rudder cable snapped.
3.00 pm
Difficult to steer effectively. Got the tool box out and started to fix it. Considered throwing out the anchor till I had completed repairs, but I was still in the shipping lanes.
It seems impossible to fix at sea, and will have to return to port for repairs. About 20 miles off shore.
6.00 pm
Towed back to docks for repairs.
Cracking thru the repairs for now
Hope your Christmas is not too bad either,
my phone number here remains +34 626 404 815
thanks to all for the messages,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Day 1 - Good start, rudder cable snap 20 Dec, 06 - 3.05

Will be updated shortly. good start this morning, setting a course 180 setting course for due south. boat felt like it weighed a ton. weather changed around middday blowing from the south west. rudder cable snapped and problems steering the boat. will have to take a decision to fix it at sea if poss or pull into a port for repairs.
more soon, B

Attempt starts today 20 Dec, 06 - 7.31

This is my last email from land. The weather turned favourable and I start my second attempt at the Atlantic in 1 hour. The website will be updated from sea via satellite on a daily basis. The latest updates can be viewed The latest high resolution photos for can be viewed in the muiltimedia section I will not be reachable via email, but on my satellite phone at +8816 315 826 92 Once again, thanks for your support and hope you can follow the progress online, Bhavik

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

LaGmra Day 24 - Status Update 18 Dec, 06 - 11.37

We still have a headwind of 10 - 15 knots. It now looks likely to improve by Wed or Thu. More updates shortly.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

LaGmra Day 23 - Storm, Work Space & Location Map 17 Dec, 06 - 20.22

Last night was rough, with around 30 knot southerly winds causing a 1 meter swell in the marina. The rudder took a beating and the there was far too much stress on the cleats. Had to wake up at 4.00 am to re-tie the ropes adding a few extra mooring ropes to take the pressure of the cleats on the bow and stern. Once the weather settles, I will have to
check if any of the fiberglass around the cleats has been damaged.
Not to much drama. Nothing a bit of epoxy and filler cant solve.
The low pressure is moving northwards (see the OPC weather report) and looks like the we should be clear for a departure on Tuesday (19th) or Wednesday (20th).
The first photo today shows the boat and work space as designed by Phill Morrison & Peter Rowsell.
The second photo is a re-iteration from my notes on the exact location of everything on board.
Taking into account performance issues on my last experience out at sea, the weight has been as evenly distributed as possible, along the center of gravity (where the ballast tanks are). As more food and fuel is consumed, the center of gravity will shift and I expect to make further corrections at sea as we progress.
The challenging bit is juggling the weight issue alongside organising items based on their utilization frequency and prioritizing their proximity from the cabin. Least used items (spares, cartridges etc) further away. Frequently used items closer.
Thanks to all for the messages. Fingers crossed and waiting for the North Easterlies to swing around by Tuesday.
Design & Work Space
My Onboard Inventory & Location Map
One of the many Giant Cactus plants found on the island

Saturday, December 16, 2006

LaGmra Day 23 - Weather & Hermigua 16 Dec, 06 - 18.24

The weather is expected to get much worse tonight. Some of the larger yacht have been moved around to safer moorings. The German crew on the yacht next to me have moved into a hotel for the night.
A small good bye party is in the works for tonight arranged for me by some friends in the village.
Todays photo is of Hermigua village on the other side of San Sebastian. A bit further on is also Aguello, with Castello Del Mar

OPC Weather Forecast
Hermigua Village, next to San Sebastian

Friday, December 15, 2006

LaGmra Day 22 - On Standby & Crowhurst 15 Dec, 06 - 20.09

I got my first 12 hours of solid sleep in a long time last night. I guess the same also applies to the German crew on the catamaran moored next to me in the marina, that have been kept awake with all the banging, drilling and sanding noise over past few weeks.
The water has gone rotten old cold. Expecting warmer weather on the route towards 17N.
While I wait, I've been catching up on reading a book an old sailor at the marina gave me. The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst (1932–1969). A true "Sailor's Classic" its about Donald Crowhurst who set out to win the Golden Globe challenge as the first man to nonstop circumnavigate the world alone in a sailboat. Setting out on the latest possible day, Crowhurst found himself limping along at a ridiculously slow pace three weeks later. Plagued by equipment failures, the "Teignmouth Electron" was taking water due to design flaws, and had no real chance of completing the race. Having staked all on a successful outcome, the tension and isolation of his predicament attacked Crowhurst's mind. The log books include an attempt to construct a philosophical reinterpretation of the human condition that would provide an escape from his impossible situation. The number 243 shows up several times in these writings: he originally planned to finish the trip in 243 days, recorded a false distance of 243 nautical miles in one day's sailing (which if valid would have been a record day's run at the time), and appears to have ended his life on the 243rd day (July 1).
His last log entry was on June 29, 1969; it is assumed that he then jumped overboard and drowned himself.
Other books I can recommend are ones written by Robin Knox-Johnston, Nigel Tetley, Bernard Moitessier, Chay Blyth, John Ridgway, Bill King, Alex Carozzo, and Loïck Fougeron.
Moving on with slightly more positive thoughts, all the loose ends have been wrapped up apart from a few media commitments. The boat in its sponsor livery is the center of attention in the marina. I have a sneaky feeling that as I write this someone somewhere is searching for an ICICI Bank (sponsor) on the island.
Thanks to all for the encouraging emails. Fingers crossed and on standby,
A good weekend to everyone,

OPC Weather Update
The Book - Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst
Donald Crowhurst - Lost at sea

Thursday, December 14, 2006

LaGmra Day 21 - Sea Anchor & Clearing up 14 Dec, 06 - 21.02

No luck with the weather, with the Low front (L1011) moving eastwards towards the Canaries. The southerly winds over the weekend are expected to swing around back to the regular Trade Winds schedule by Monday. Tuesday should bring with it a steady favourable Northerly 5 knot wind.
Pavel left today for London and most of the morning was taken up shipping back the excess equipment (trailers, paint, fittings etc) by Fred Olsen. Our work place in dry docks is now all clear. Boat in the water. Ready to depart after more than 20 days ashore on the island.
A major tick off the list has been the onboard electrics and desalinator. We had one last test this morning with Pavel. They functioned perfectly as expected. The water however, tasted a bit if sulphur, but this should right itself once the boat is out of the marina and its been run for a few hours.
Today's featured equipment - the Sea Anchor.
People keep asking what I would do at night to prevent the boat from drifting backwards while I sleep or in storms. As its hard for people to imagine a boat with 3 miles of anchor reaching down to the sea bed, I figure a quick explanation of how my sea anchor works is overdue.
A sea anchor, used to stabilize a boat in heavy weather, anchors not to the sea floor but to the sea itself, as a kind of brake. Usually shaped like a parachute or cone, it is fed out from the ship or boat so that it fills under water; floating sea anchors intended to drag on the surface of the water have also been used. A long line (typically between ten and fifteen boat lengths) is attached to the sea anchor and the bow of the boat or ship.
The boat, though blown by the wind, is slowed down by the sea anchor, and this allows the boat to ride out the storm by keeping the hull in line with the wind and perpendicular to waves. This forms the basic technique of heaving to.
The sea anchor, when fully deployed, holds about 4 tons of water (approx 4000 kg), keeping the bow of the boat at right angles to the waves.
All is well otherwise. The past weeks have been hectic. Will be relaxing on shore and catching up with sleep while we spend the next few days waiting for the weather to improve. As they say, there are worst places to be stuck in than La Gomera.
More shortly,
To receive automatic email alerts each time the news is updated visit this link:
OPC Weather Update
Clearing up on docks
Sea Anchor

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

LaGmra Day 20 - Weather explanation 13 Dec, 06 - 20.38

Judging by the tons of emails I am getting, I will try and give an quick overview weather systems to explain our present situation and the reason for the wait.
The first photo, shows my daily weather map for 13 Dec, from the US Gov. OPC (Ocean Prediction Center).
La Gomera is at approximately 28N, 17W, just to the lower right of the DVLPG STORM (Developing Storm) Box.
The weather map displays the weather fronts and pressure systems occurring on our area. The steepness of the pressure gradient can be observed according to the density of isobars, or lines on the map at
which pressure is equal. The closer the isobars, the greater the variations in pressure which more air movement.
The black semi circles are the occlusion symbols for a warm front. A warm front is a boundary between two different air masses where warm air pushes cold air away to bring warmer weather. Warm fronts advance horizontally at speeds of about 15 mph or slower. Warm front weather extends over an area hundreds of miles in advance of the front line at ground level.
The black peaks are the symbols for a cold front. A cold front is a boundary between two different air masses where cold air pushes warm air away. It usually means colder weather. Cold fronts usually advance at speeds of about 20 mph- they are faster in the winter than in the summer, because in winter the air is colder and exerts greater pressure.
High-pressure systems are depicted with an 'H'.
High pressure systems are associated with clear, cool weather . Around high-pressure systems, winds flow anticyclonically— that is, clockwise in the northern hemisphere, counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere.
The low pressure system is depicted with a capital 'L'.
The components of storms are attracted to regions of low pressure. For this reason, heavy precipitation and overcast conditions are often associated with low-pressure systems. Due to the Coriolis effect, low-pressure systems often develop cyclonic properties: in the northern hemisphere (where La Gomera is situated), winds around the system move counterclockwise, and in the southern hemisphere they move clockwise. Low pressure systems, additionally, often become junctures of fronts.
Long story short, the weather report indicates a low pressure system (at L1008) possibly approaching La Gomera. The counter clockwise winds thus generated would result in winds from the South-West.
I require stable winds from the North-East that will help me chart my course due South.
The currents are in our favour, however the winds play an important role as 80% of the boat is above water.
Keep the messages coming. Thanks again,

Daily OPC report
The Captian's (my) clearence papers from the Port Authority, Tenerife. Inc a few typos.
Moonrise across the Atlantic, Tenerife as seen from La Cueba Playa

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

LaGmra Day 19 - Wave Heights, Food Rations & Marine Life 12 Dec, 06 - 21.03

Still waiting for fair weather. Expected to get worse tomorrow, depending on which way the low pressure front moves. On standby.
In the meanwhile, catching up on some much needed sleep.
The food rations you see is general Mountain House and Expedition Foods Boil in the bag stuff. Total food rations on board to last about 100 days, allocating about 5000 calories per day.
The food for each day has been bagged up into 100 individual rations, typically consisting of
1 x breakfast (cereals, muesli etc)
3 x main meals (Boil in the bag pasta, rice, noodles etc)
4 x snacks (protein bars, nuts, chocolate)
3.x dessert (Heat and eat chocolate mousse, rice pudding etc)
2 x 100g of protein powder + creatin + zinc suppliments
The food has been allocated to each ration pack at random, to add a bit of surprise variety each day.
That's all for now
1. Wave Height and Pilot Chart notes
2. Mountain House Food Rations
3. A random photo of the varied sea life near the boat in the marina. Barracuda, Catfish and Mullet Fish.

Monday, December 11, 2006

LaGmra Day 18 - Squalls, Goodbye's & Ballast 11 Dec, 06 - 19.48

As usual, checking the weather lottery each morning. It shows no sign of letting up as yet. Still very squally and some rain.The valley leading from the volcano in the center of the island leading down to the San Sebastian seems to compress and funnel the wind out with an exaggerated force, and the marina of course is on the receiving end of it. We estimate the squalls hit around 60 knots at some point in the night, judging by the crashing of masts and wind generators on the other boats in the marina.
(A squall can be described as a sudden wind speed increase of at least 18 miles / hour ) before it returns to its mean value. The usually occurs in a region of strong mid-level height falls, or mid-level tropospheric cooling, which force strong localized upward motions at the leading edge of the region of cooling, which then enhances local downward motions just in its wake. Hope that is crystal clear :)
In the event of ferries being cancelled to the next island, a few good bye's were said today followed by a group photo at the marina.
The ballast, 200kgs arrived later in the evening, and was loaded onto the boat in the middle hatch at the boats center of gravity.
1. Weather report
2. Group photo
3. Loading 200 kgs of ballast

Sunday, December 10, 2006

LaGmra Day 17 - Weather Guide & Gale Force Winds 10 Dec, 06 - 23.14

The stormy conditions have worsened in the past 24 hrs.
The ferry service across the islands to Tenerife may be cancelled due to the weather on Tuesday and James Little and the others plan to leave La Gomera tomorrow in order to catch their onward flights to London on Wed.
A further bit of bad news at breakfast time. Gábor Rakonczai & Andrea Pálos, attempting to cross from Cadiz in Spain to Antigua set off their EPIRB this morning and a rescue at sea is underway for them. Seems like they got hit by the storm.
The evening was taken up by a group meeting with Kenneth to assess the current situation and go over a few emergency procedures at sea.
Since, I will be writing much about the weather over the next few days, here is a brief guide to interpreting the weather maps posted on this site from my daily OPC data.
The black and white image on the right, is the Surface Forecast for the Atlantic, from the OPC (Ocean Prediction Center), run by the US department of Commerce.
The Surface Forecast provides data on atmospheric pressure, temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity and precipitation. It is based upon data collected routinely from trained observers satellites, weather stations, buoys. The Surface Forecast is usually available for 24, 48 and 96 hour periods and is updated daily.
(For more on other info such as Wave Heights, Pressure and Satellite maps visit
The main symbol in the diagram, (F) is a wind barb, which indicates wind speed and direction. The Wind barb points outward in the direction "from" which the wind is blowing.
The term easterly means that the winds are from the east. In the
example, the winds are out of the northeast, or north-easterly. On the otherhand, the term "eastward" means that the winds are blowing towards the east.
Wind speed is given here in the units of "knots" (knt). A "Knot" is a nautical mile per hour.
1 Knot = 1.15 Miles Per Hour (MPH)
1 Knot = 1.9 Kilometres Per Hour (KM/HR)
Each short barb represents 5 knots, each long barb 10 knots. A long barb and a short barb is 15 knots, simply by adding the value of each barb together (10 knots + 5 knots = 15 knots). If only a station circle is plotted, the winds are calm.
The winds around La Gomera are averaging 35-45 knots.
We were hoping to leave Wednesday, but it looks optimistic with the current weather forecast. Waiting for a break in the weather when the storm center moves further North.
Thanks to all for the messages,
1. My daily OPC weather report
2. Weather map and symbols
3. Interpreting symbols for wind speed

Saturday, December 9, 2006

LaGmra Day 16 - Boat on water, Force 5 winds 09 Dec, 06 - 06.08

Miss Olive was put on water today at 10.30 am.
A few tense moments as the boat was lifted off dry docks on the crane and hit by Force 5 winds as it was being put into the water. We were promptly blown out to sea, with the wind hitting the boat beam on. Eventually had to be towed back in. Not a very good start to the day.
The weather has taken a turn for the worse overnight, with North-Easterly gale force winds averaging around 35 knots (near gale conditions). The low pressure front has moved in and looks like it will stay till Tuesday or Wed.
Hoping the storm center moves further North in the next few days. The weather is expected to get much worse tomorrow.
1. Antifouling coating applied before lowering the boat onto the water
2. Boat being lifted by the crane
3. Out in the harbour

Friday, December 8, 2006

LaGmra Day 15 - Fiesta, Filming, Stock Photos 08 Dec, 06 - 20.38

A bit of bad news. The weather has changed and a low pressure front is moving in, estimated to hit La Gomera tomorrow. The winds have picked up slightly with Gale force winds expected to arrive tomorrow.
Most of the people in San Sebastian have gone walkabouts. Today is All Saints Day in the Canary Islands, which translates into everything being closed and a 12 hour fiesta starting at 6 in the evening.
We got the filming out of the way earlier on in the day, followed by a media interview.
Most of the evening was spent with the shore team, including former ocean rowers James 'Tiny' Little, Graham Walters, and Peter Hogden. Few people in history have ever successfully rowed across an ocean, compared to 2000 who have climbed Everest. The community of ocean rowers is extremely small, and it’s quite touching to see past ocean rowers fly all the way to La Gomera, to be at hand for assistance and see off people like myself, attempting a row for the first time. I hope I can do the same for fellow rowers in the future.
The boat goes on the water tomorrow at 10.30 am. More shortly.
1. Marina as seen from Parador, on the hill overlooking San Sebastaian
2. Group dinner
3. Christmas fiesta in the village

LaGmra Day 14 - Waypoints, Charts, Mob Updates, Columbus 07 Dec, 06 - 12.09

The order of the day has been storing waypoints for the best route into the GPS system based on the latest weather report with a manual back up in my the log book. I am also carrying the Admiralty Charts for the North Atlantic that covers wind and pressure data for Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb. In addition to local maps around Antigua and English Harbour.
*warning - technical talk ahead*
For the benefit of those planning to use C3 on Iridum with Direct Internet 2.0, my timing of image uploads puts it at about 1 min / 10k. We have added an extra Eur 800 worth of minutes more to the system. I recommend a minimum of 1000 minutes to start with.
Mobile updates are now available. Via the RSS feed (link on the home page) or via your phone browser.
Note: The map on the news page requires the Macromedia Flash player. If you are using Symbian OS (on Nokia etc) please check availability at
I am currently using a Nokia N93 which is capable of filming excellent DVD quality video. It's pre-installed with the Adobe imaging software suit as well as Acrobat. Quite surprised to find that Flash did not come pre-installed, as Macromedia was acquired by Adobe last year.
The installation can be a bit fiddly and not as seamless as I would have liked. I have not had the time to go into the online forums to find a work around. (If anyone from the Nokia Sponsor team is reading this, let me know).
Unfortunately, there has not been enough time to edit the recorded pod casts for publishing. They will be made available after the crossing is over.
*breathe - tech talk ends*
Back to rowing related tasks, I have neglected filming over the past few days. Will be making it up for it tomorrow, with about 2 hrs reserved for filming high definition video footage.
Tomorrow I also officially hand over Administration tasks to the shore team. Including website admin, finance, emergency contacts and PR. The will also be responsible for co-ordinating travel arrangements for those of you who wish to spend a week in Antigua with me, on arrival in mid-feb. Details will be circulated to all sponsors shortly.
La Gomera is also known for being the last stop that Christopher Columbus made on his voyage to the New World in 1492. To the left is a photo of the his house, Casa de Colón, that I walk past almost every day.
Finally, the boat is ready to be launched on water tomorrow and loaded with ballast. In good hands with Pavel and the rest of the shore team.
Keep the messages coming, thanks to all,
Will post an update here in the next 24 hrs.
1. Nautical Charts
2. Manually plotted route in my log book
3. Christopher Columbus House

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

LaGmra Day 13 - Puffin, Purchasing Parity, Media 06 Dec, 06 - 20.53

Keeping in line with local tradition, ahead is 4 day weekend. Today is a holiday, Constitution day followed by a fiesta (party) in the village for the next 4 days. However, the Marina is still working and we are scheduled for seatrials the day after. Its impossible to row the boat against the wind and given the prevailing wind conditions. Fortunately, one of the sailors in the marina has offered to tow us back from sea once we have finished.
Being a holiday, I have taken the opportunity to update the website and catch up with emails. I get about 200 emails a day and its good to hear from those of you I have not been in touch with for a few years.
Graham Walters arrived with his boat "Puffin" last night. Graham has had 3 successful crossings across the Atlantic, as part of a team as well as solo.
"Puffin" has a tragic story to it.
On Sunday,May 22, 1966, David Johnstone and John Hoare - began optimistically what proved to be voyage of no return. Puffin, only fifteen feet long, was specially designed and built for David Johnstone and John Hoare. Although they survived over 106 days at sea, which included 14 gales of various strengths and one hurricane, their brave attempt was finally ended on 3rd September 1966 when they lost their lives during a second hurricane, Hurricane Faith. Several weeks later the Canadian coastguard ship HMCS Chaudière came across the wreck of the Puffin and retrieved the little boat, by then festooned inside and out with marine growth. There was no sign of Johnstone or Hoare.
On a slightly more happier note (?), the iPOD has gone on the blink. I assume it is the sea salt. Just as BigMac has evolved to be a measure of Purchasing Power Parity, it seems the iPOD seems to have evolved to be a measure of remoteness. None available anywhere here nor in Tenerife. Now you a better idea of life on La Gomera.
Luckily, just in time, James "Tiny" Little, flies in from London tomorrow, bringing with him a replacement and a few pearls of wisdom from an experienced ocean rower. Tiny is one of the few who have successfully rowed solo across the Atlantic in 2004 along the same route and is flying in to see us off.
I took some time today to go to some parts of the village that I did not have time for earlier, passing the Church and the house of Cristopher Columbus.
With the manual tasks out of the way, tomorrow I turn my attention to route, software related issues, GPS, Iridium, media interviews and handing over operations to the shore team once I have left.

1. The Puffin found floating at sea without crew. David
Johnston and John Hoare were lost at sea in the capsize.
2. The Village Church
3. Atlantic awaits

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

LaGmra Day 12 - Los Cristianos 05 Dec, 06 - 22.05

For a change, a fairly short one today.
I have reserved 1 day to buy or replace any items on board as we went through the check lists. Today. We sailed across to Los Cristianos, Tenerife around 10.00 get some replacement dry bags, EPOXY, spare fuses etc from Pesquera Y Navales in Los Cristianos, the nautical shop just by the marina. As going to the next island is quite an event in La Gomera, I offered to do some shopping for for other people in the marina. Incidentally, I also found out, this considerably lengthens the shopping list, which in turn is inversely proportional to the time available on shore.
Impressively, we also managed to squeeze in a 2 hour drive to Puerto De La Cruiz in the North, to pick up some replacement marine stickers.
The past two weeks have been a bit of a blur. Its been exactly 2 weeks since we have been in La Gomera. Its taken a little longer than expected. But Ias they say, can't go to sea either with instructions written in ketchup on the back of a KFC napkin.
We've been working all hours, chasing suppliers and making modifications necessary. My onshore technical duties are almost complete, including Hull Work - patching, painting, anti fouling, Servicing Electrics and Watermaker, Safety Equipment - distress flares etc, WaterTight hatches, Ropes & Moorings, Licences and Certifications, VHF DSC, First Aid, Spares, Maintenance & Tools, Healthcare, Food, All Onboard electronics - GPS, Transponder, Argos Beacons, EPIRB, Charts & Manuals.
I am satisfied our level of readiness and ready to concentrate on the next bit - 1 day of marine trials and the course ahead.
On a lighter note, here is a photo of a entertaining store sign I spotted in Los Cristianos - "Bloody Hell Offer"
Presumably, the owner is of Asian origin and I assume he means that it is wat a customer says when he hears the price of ciggies - Bloody Hell!. The only thing is, I'm not entirely sure if it means the price is too high or too low. Los Cristianos is expensive.
Thanks to everyone for the phone calls and well wishing emails. I appreciate them all. Its difficult to catch up with everyone before I leave, so do apologise if I have missed out on anyone.
Tomorrow we have interviews scheduled w/TV Canarias and a few other journalists.
That's all for today, over and out,
PS. Note to Rune: Could not find Endomine in Tenerife or La Gomera, have alternatives on board.
1. San Sebastian Marina as seen from sea
2. Pesquera Y Navales 
3. Bloody Hell Offer!!

Monday, December 4, 2006

LaGmra Day 11 - CHECKLIST - Charts & Manuals 04 Dec, 06 - 21.16

Before I loose too many visitors to the website, I promise, this is the last of the checklists.
A final wrap up of all the manuals including the Wiring Schematic for the entire boat, to be stored in water tight casings. Nothing to get really animated about, but critical enough for repairs at sea.
It has taken me a little longer than I expected to load the boat and have
everything to my satisfaction. I have insisted on loading the boat my self so I know the exact inventory and location of all items by memory.
With all the work going in the dock, the hatch and deck has played host to everything from fiberglass dust, iron filings and volcanic ash that gets blown across from the beach. I spent a good few hours till 10.00 pm cleaning the inside to bring it upto to an acceptable standard of hygene. I hear respiratory illnesses are undesirable.
The final act of the day was washing all the Neoperene Rubber layering, my weapon of choice, for the floor of the hatch.
Neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber popular in wetsuits and protective gear. Neoprene has a variety of properties that make it quite useful, including being abrasion-resistant, chemical-resistant, waterproof, somewhat stretchable and buoyant, resists degradation from sun, ozone and weather and is inflammable. In short, it seems to do everything except make coffee.
Moving on, tomorrow is a small shopping trip across the water to Tenerife. Just discovered that 2 of the dry bags on board have been torn. Also on the list is extra Epoxy and Fuses and other bits and bobs.
Thanks all for now. Its 11.45 pm here. Off to grab some dinner.
More tomorrow,
1 x Atlantic Ocean Admiralty Charts / Pilot Charts for Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb
1 x Atlantic GPS Maps
1 x Antigua Maps
1 x Force10 8200
1 x Katadyn 40E
1 x Whale Gusher Bilge
1 x SEA Me Active Radar
1 x iCom Marine Transceiver ICM421
1 x Iridium 9505A
1 x Silva Solar II
1 x Solara SM40 - 225M
1 x Solara CBS40 - 225M
1 x Curtis Instruments
1 x Wiring Schematic
1 x Garmin 152
1 x Argos MAR YX
1 x Iris 100
1 x Silva M4 Marine
1 x Sony HC30, HC32, R1, T9
1 x Hahnel CLR 103

1. Manuals
2. Wiring Schematic for the boat
3. Cleaning the deck


Sunday, December 3, 2006

LaGmra Day 10 - CHECKLIST - Electronics 03 Dec, 06 - 4.31

Due apologies for the tsunami of checklists. I promise more entertaining updates once out at sea.
This is some of the more routine (relative to rowing across the Atlantic that is) work that needs to be done. So once again, here is a re-iteration from my notes of the day for Electronics.
Despite being a Sunday (you can always tell its a Sunday in La Gomera - even the Coke vending machine in the marina is switched off), our work continued till 3 am with the occasional yells of celebration from the Russian boat builders fishing at the end of the pier.
We are almost done loading the boat with the last item being the water ballast - to be loaded once the boat is in the water.
2 x Iridium 9505A
1 x Iridium 9505
2 x ex antenna
2 x 12v charges
2 x Serial comms cables.
1 x Garmin 152 Fixed
1 x Garmin HandHeld + Atlantic GPS Maps
1 x SEA Me Active Radar Reflector
1 x iCOM Fixed VHF
1 x iCOM Handheld VHF
2 x Argos Satellite Beacons
1 x 406.025 MHz EPIRB
2 x Sony T9
1 x Sony T9 Marine Casing
1 x Sony DSC-R1
1 x Sony HVR-A1E (1080i HD)
1 x Extreme Visions Marine Sony DCR HC30 x 1
1 x Sony DCR HC32
1 x GTX Tripod
2 x Hahnel MCL 103
5 x ExLife Batts
1 x Panasonic Tough Book CF29
1 x Nokia N93
1 x HP PDA + C3
35 x HD DVC Tapes
3 x 1 GB Memory Sticks
2 x 1 GB Mini SD
1 x 80 GB Ipod
1 x 30 GB ipod
1 x DC / AC Inverter
1 x 120 GB Data Store
1. Iridium Kit
2. Cameras, Solar Panels, Transponder
3. Catch of the Day

Saturday, December 2, 2006

LaGmra Day 9 - CHECKLIST - FirstAid 02 Dec, 06 - 7.31

In the absence of Dr Sanjay Gupta on board, the First Aid box contains the basics to deal with possible medical conditions at sea and minor patch up surgery. Here is a quick insight into the contents of my laminated prescription cards.
DIHYDROCODINE - Painkiller - Severe pain 2x 30 mg Codeine + 2 x 500mg Paracetamol 4x daily max
PREDNISOLONE - Steroid - Inflamed / rubbing joints and rashes
ORUVAIL GEL - Anti inflammatory gel
BRUFEN - Low Grade joint pains / anti inflammatory - one at a time
AUGMENTIN - General antibotic for mainly skin and soft tissue complaints. In case of bad cuts, use to stop infection. Use to clear up boils
OTOSPORIN - Ear infections of outer ear - test for infection by finger in ear smell test
CHLORAPHENICOL - Eye oinment for any infection. EG. Conjunctivitis. Also for boils.
GAVISCON - For Indigestion
STEMETIL - Seasickness Tablets. 24 hrs prior to need. Drowsy
DIORYLYTE - Replace lost salts from dehydration
HYPROMELLOSE - Eye drops for dry eyes
PIRITON - For clearing air passages
FLAGYL - Good for the gut. Any intestinal diseases + dental infections
FLUOXACILLIN - Broad spectrum antibiotic - skin problems, tonsillitis, emphysema, pneumonia
CICATRIN - Topical anti bacterial agent, pressure sores, burns, surface use only
DAKTARIN - Anti fungal powder - for athletes foot type complaints in other body parts
ZINC OXIDE TAPE - Use for strapping strains and closing wounds
FLAMAZINE - For burns - use fresh water to cool (better than sea water). Flamazine regenerates tissue. For acid burns - profuse irrigation with water
EPHEDRINE - Nasal congestion
ANTIBIOTIC CREAM - To make mix some powder from flucloxacillin capsule with Vaseline to make a paste - this can also be used to pack boils
BOILS - Cut open boil with scalpel. Clean wound and remove all pus + infection. Ensure wound is cleaned to base. Pull apart area around wound to remove any remaining fluid. Pack wound with Gauze and antibiotic cream. Cover wound lightly. Can put Chloraphenicol in boil.
DEHYDRATION - Use pinch test and remedy with Diorylyte
3 x Laminated Prescription Cards
1 x Foil Blankets
2 x Surgical Gloves
1 x Tyenol
1 x Dentanurse
16 x Clean Tabs
1 x Glycerol
1 x Ketoprofen
1 x Savlon
1 x Dermetol
1 x Dektarin
1 x Cicatrin Powder
1 x Calamine Lotion
1 x Hypromellose
1 x Dihydrocodeine (water loss correction)
1 x Mupirocin
1 x Amoxcellin Trihydrate
2 x 3M Coban Tape
1 x First Aid w/p Tape
1 x Rocialle Sterile Gauz swabs
1 x Crepe Bandage Dressing
1 x 36' Sam Splint

1. The First Aid Box
2. Laminated Prescription cards with basic diagnostic info
3. The weather is holding up, near perfect conditions for sailing

Friday, December 1, 2006

LaGmra Day 8 - Part 2 - CHECKLIST - Healthcare, Maintenance, Spares, Tools, Fuel 01 Dec, 06 - 20.58

With the VHF work out of the way, the latter part of the day from about 5.00 pm to 10.00 pm was spent loading the boat with Healthcare, Maintenance Equipment, Tool Kit, Spares and Replacements, Fuels and Gas.
The problem with the Force10 cooker has finally been resolved with a bit of Russian style improvisation. As I wrote earlier, the corrosion in the burner was producing a yellow flame, unsuitable for use. The burner has been taken apart and replaced with a Camping Gaz burner locally available. After a bit of destructive metal cutting and soldering, we manged to adapt the Camping Gaz burner. The bad news is that the 14 existing canisters of Propane on board were promptly rendered unusable, due to a difference in ring sizes on the Camping Gaz cartridges and Force10 cartridges. As they say, the devil is in the details. For the sake of standardization, I wish Microsoft also made Propane cartridges. The good news is that we do not have to ship a replacement cooker from Canada, the only place it is available, as it is not certified for sale anywhere in the EU. In addition, I have three extra replacement burners, available locally, which can be replaced at sea in case of corrosion.
A very welcome break from work, later on in the evening, with a going away party at the local tapas bar with Andreu & the team, Tatiana, Kennith, Ed Baylis, Stuart Turnbull and of course the Russians and an after party at the only club on the island. A lack of choice does make decision making easier when it comes to debating about which is the best bar in town to go to.
Here are the Checklists from my notes of the day, for the curiosity of the general public and benefit of future solo Atlantic attempts. Indulge!
Note: All items have been vacume packed to prevent corrosion.
2 x C60 Sunblock
1 x Aloe Lotion
1 x Aloe Burn Relief
8 x Lotil cream
6 x Vaseline
4 x natusan
1 x centrum
4 x hand sanitizers
6 x instrunet pre-surgical disinfectant
1 x Medio removable adhesive spray
1 x Lifechalk Underwater Polysulfide Rubber Compound
1 x SDM Silicone Waterproof Rubber Sealant
1 x RS Silicon Oil
2 x Mobil OTE Lubricating Oil
1 x 2-4-C Marine Lubricant (for steering, cables, swivel pins, universal joints, gimbal bearings, hing pins etc.)
1 x Katadyne Membrane Preservative
1 x Acid Katadyne Membrane Cleaner
1 x Alkali Katadyne Membrane Cleaner
2 x Katadyne R3 Filter Cartridges
2 x Katadyne tubing w/ 3 way turning taps
6 x Oar Locks
3 x Blade Protectors
1 x Waterproof Hatch Cover
1 x WestMarine 6ea - 20ea Pan Match screws to 1/4" flat washers
(inc. pan and oval match screws, nylon insert locknuts, hex nuts, washers)
1 x Pliers, Spanners, Hammer, Sanders
1 x Drill bits
24 x Wire fastners
1 x Self amalgamating tape
1 x whipping twine
1 x webbing
5 x masking tape
14 x 1lbs Western Outdoors Propane
2 x Butaine Stormlighter Fuel
4 x SL Frog Gas
1. Cooker fixed
2. Healthcare, Maintenance, Spares, Toolkit
3. Tapas dinner with Andreu & Team