The sun frying the heads and backs of mini sailors in Genoa as we prepare for the next mini event of the season; The Grand Prix d’Italie.
The entries in the event line a small dock outside the yacht club and nationalities include Polish, Spanish, Swiss, French, Italian and of course the British entries which are myself and Dan Dytch in his prototype.
Members come and go to the grand and neat yacht club building, arriving in their cars, wearing shirts and ties for an evening occasion, slightly oblivious to the scruffy bunch of vagabonds with little boats who are working away just below the level of their eyesight as they sip their drinks on the balcony of the club.
My co-skipper for this event is going to be Guilluame Rottee, who has been my coach at CEM for the past few months. I am really looking forward to the event, I think there will be a lot to learn over the 560 mile course and hope that I can make the most of having his expertise onboard.
The last few days have been spent in preparation for the event.
Bottom sanded, ropes replaced, a new system to trim the spinnaker pole is in place. I am now getting the stage on my boat where I am pretty happy with the basic systems and starting to fine tune things, customising it to suit me.
This is one of the really enjoyable things about owning a boat; developing systems that really work for you and owning them, making it truly yours – I am ‘pimping my boat’.
If you want to know about that ask anyone in the quarter ton fleet where ‘boat pimping’ is just as important as the sailing.
Food for this race is going to be important and liquid as well. It has been furiously hot over the last couple of days. The answer to this problem comes in packets from Crew Fuel.
I have a peculiar diet as I have an intolerance to wheat products and so eating calories while I am sailing can sometimes be difficult, as a result I tend to get strong drops and spikes in my energy levels, which has a knock on effect on my sleep patterns.
I am working with Phil Johnston from Crew Fuel to use their products to give me a more continuous energy level through out the day, using the carbohydrate drinks to maintain my fluids and energy levels and their instant meals to give me a quick boost when I can feel myself flagging.
I am eating rice or oat based freeze dried meals for my main meals.
This race will be my first long trial with this system and hopefully I will start to build a good idea of what the best nutrition plan will be for the transat itself.
The one big job still outstanding on the boat before the race start is to get the AIS up and running.
I took my Transponder off the Shed and am installing it on the mini for this season, it was done in the dark, last minute, crawling around dark lockers in the cold in the UK. Unfortunately I managed to forget a vital cable somewhere along the lines.
I have to admit to having had the unit out here for a couple of weeks now, I bought it out before my qualifier but have not had time to fit it and now – like quite a few other minis on the dock – I am rushing around with computers and cables and antennas, looking blank and helpless while the man who does our pre race safety control, rolls his eyes and sighs because we all knew it had to be installed for this race.
So top man of the day is James Woodward from Transas Marine who when I rang and told him of my error, went down to the engineers workshop and stole the cable I needed from them – it was the last one in the building and has posted it out to me in Genoa.
I hope it gets here………………………..