This newsletter marks a significant turnaround in the maintenance of our website, posting of updates and our e-mail facility as Greg Searant of fluid lino website design comes aboard as the "Webmaster!". Since the birth of our website there have been a number of ongoing problems that have found this "cyberspace baby" right out of his depth. Greg is a local Belmont boy, who just happens to be a very good sailor and is a "wizz" at this "computer thing". He has been working very patiently behind the scenes and I am very glad to have him on my side. Check his site out at www.fluidlino.com.au if you need saving, as I did.
The last month has seen a lot of activity and with some major steps forward.
Two weeks ago I took delivery of my brand new Coursemaster CM750 Autopilot, the purchase of which, was made easier by the part sponsorship provided by Coursemaster. The fundraising night in mid November contributed $2,700 and the balance was self-funded. A lot of very careful consideration went into my decision to use the Coursemaster product and I look forward to many safe miles with "Herbie", or whatever I christen him/her, in charge.
To complement "Herbie", late November saw the arrival of our Monitor self-steering wind vane which was provided by Scanmar International (California) on a partly sponsored basis so that I can assist them with their ongoing Research & Development Program.
Both pieces of equipment are beautifully engineered and it will indeed be a shame to get them wet.
I have now installed the stainless steel pod on the port side of the main hatch upon which I have mounted one of my spare self-tailing winches which will provide the horsepower for the also newly mounted bank of Lewmar clutches that will take care of the main halyard, three tack and three clew lines for reefing.
The old cabin windows were a little stressed out after our Sydney-Hobart exercise so I've pulled them out and am about to fit new ones that are a couple of millimetres thicker.
Today I ordered our new tracks and adjustable genoa cars from Ronstan in readiness to install them in early January along with the new spray dodger and a host of other jobs that I am planning to get stuck into, such as the complete replacement of the bilge pumps, complete overhaul of the steering system etc etc etc.
A medium term goal has been set which is participation in the two-handed Sydney to Auckland race which starts on the 18th March 2000. My good friend and sailing partner, Keir Enderby has put his hand up to come with me as crew on the way over and I am going to bring the boat back single-handed.
I think the whole trip will be an excellent "shakedown" for Solo Globe Challenger and myself and really gives us something to work to, to ensure we don't "drop off the pace". We have to do a 500 mile non-stop qualifying voyage as a pre cursor to allowing us on the starting line and we will need to do that some time late February.
1999 has been a very full year and I must say that I am really looking forward to relaxing with Lorraine, Holly & Jordan between Xmas and New Year before re-launching myself into 2000 and the challenge.
We hope you have an enjoyable time over the next week or two or three and we especially hope that the fat man in the red suit fills your stocking or pillow case (or whatever you use) to the brim.
Have a Merry Xmas and a great New Years Eve.
Tony, Lorraine, Holly and Jordan Mowbray