Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Restless Sleep, Fresh Food,Family & Fellow Racers

Since arriving in Cape Town I have been enjoying relatively long nights of restless sleep. After 28 days of severe sleep deprivation offshore, my dreams have been pretty wacky since offered a more “normal” overnight rest. The transition is a bit tricky. I am always restless overnight, partly out of habit and partly because I really don’t want to get out of the groove of the offshore environment. It may seem like we have a lot of time on land, but December 12 is right around the corner. I attempt a nap each day to try and stay in the groove, but it does not always work out.

I have also been enjoying red meat, fresh food, and spending time with my family. We went up Table Mountain over the weekend, which was the first time I have ever done it despite being here twice before. We are going to try and get away together as a family and explore South Africa for a few days, which will be a total escape from my work on the boat.

Jeffrey, JC, and Nitro are busy going through the boat work list that I prepared before my arrival. I am spending most of my time on the electrical side and heading up the charging system modifications. We are changing how the hydro generators and the rest of the charging system keep the batteries charged on the boat, to provide the electricity for the autopilots and other important electronics. I’ve been working closely with B&G to make sure the autopilot and instrument package is fine tuned for optimum performance in the Southern Ocean.

I have learned a lot about the B&G system and I must say it is absolutely amazing. There are so many variables; it is like you can keep making the system better and better as you go. They auto-learn, so they adjust their own parameters as I encounter different conditions. My time on this is critical as I need the autopilots to drive through anything and everything. Over the first leg of the race I’ve been learning the system, and it has been learning itself – both great assets for the upcoming Southern Ocean legs.

I’ve also really enjoyed being onsite to greet the other competitors as they have arrived Cape Town. It is a race tradition to greet your fellow competitors, and inherently the time in port creates great bonds and friendships. I cooked a steak on the dock for Derek, which he promptly enjoyed with South African wine at a small table beside his boat with his wife. CSM arrived yesterday and we all went to the local pub for a beer.

My focus right now is trying to get the boat work sorted enough for me to take off on a short walk about with my family. Thanks for checking in,