Yesterday was a land mark day in the run up to the start. I had my measurement.
This process will be going on for the next four days to every competitor in the transat. I booked mine as early as possible, so if I had any problems I would have time to correct them and when it was done I would be able to prepare in other ways with a clear head about the boat.
First was my safety control; Pierre arrived and checked that all the safety items on the boat where of the right type and the right quantity, going through the boat with a fine tooth come, noting serial numbers and callsigns and wriggling down the tunnel under my cockpit to check the liferaft and then seal it in position so I cannot use it to ballast the boat.
The liferaft was not the only thing to be sealed, my emergency drinking water was sealed and also my empty Jerry cans for use for drinking water on the second leg; my batteries were sealed in position and my survival container was sealed closed).
At the end of the first leg the boat will be inspected and any broken seals will incur a chat with the judges and a time penalty.
I was missing a couple of small items on the list, these items have crept on for the transat, a couple of extra flares, a spare radar reflector and a Spanish flag; no great shakes and my credit card flexed it’s muscles so I am ready to call Pierre and come and have him sign the boat off.
Next was the sail measurement. Here I had to take all of my sails up to a tent in the village where they could be inspected to check they have a classe mini stamp, to stamp them ‘transat 2011’ and note their serial numbers and what they are. This way the committee can regulate that we are only using seven sails for the race.
I only had six sails verified as I have had a bit of a wobble with one of my spinnakers; which has a detachable reef and was passed by the measurer over a week ago, but classe mini have since decided is illegal.
This has been a panic for me and for my sail designer John Parker, from One Sails, as it was a surprise the class have not accepted it, and at such short notice.
The sail is being sent back to the loft in Levington, Suffolk; where the reef will be modified and then it will return out to me with my friends who are coming to watch the start on Friday 23rd. I have a special dispensation to check this sail in then.
The rest of my sails are all checked in and my final port of call was to the course Doctor; where my medical kit had a thorough going over.
No Flies on me there are my Dad who is a doctor helped me put this kit together the last weekend I was back in the UK. We had a slight bit of banter over some of the medicines I was carrying, where Dad had made substitutions I was prepared to fight my corner out of family pride.
One item I did not have in the kit and which you cannot buy at a Pharmacy in the UK was a coagulating powder. I took the opportunity to question the Doctor about this product as when my Dad had gone to buy it from the Pharmcy in the UK both he and the pharmacy agreed that it was something they learned about at college but was never really used other than on the battle field, when someone was bleeding so badly there was nothing that could be done; you could apply this powder to clot the blood but you would need a helicopter to arrive in the next couple of minutes to take the patient to somewhere they could be treated.
The course Doctor gave a wry smile, and looked at me over the top of his glasses and said; yes maybe he agreed. I could however buy it at a French pharmacy; and he gave me a prescription.
I am thinking maybe it could be good for repairing a hole in the hull??