Update #9 - 25th February 2000

I would like to welcome aboard EJE Architecture as sponsors of days #1 & #100 of the trip, and Nationwide Jewellers as sponsors of days #36 & #93. The old adage about many hands making light work is still very true and with the support of companies like EJE and Nationwide I am able to keep inching forward. If you have an opportunity to support them then I would urge you to do so. EJE Architecture can be found at www.eje.com.au and Nationwide Jewellers are at www.jgbs.com

Work on the boat has been progressing rapidly due largely to the efforts of an old friend of mine, John Stanton. "Stanno" lived in the Lake Macquarie area in the throughout the 1970's and did a lot of lake and offshore sailing out of LMYC on boats like "Polaris", "Boomerang of Belmont", "Satin Sheets" and his self built Top Hat, "Carajen". Stanno would never let a mate down and so when I spoke to him late last year about my need for someone to put the electrical side of things together he jumped straight in and offered to help. Over the last 2.5 weeks he has done an absolutely fantastic job. He has "gutted" the boat and rewired her and we now have the Coursemaster Autopilot up and running along with fully functioning solar panels, wind generator, VHF & HF radio, new GPS, two new banks of batteries, new switchboards c/w circuit breakers instead of the old fuses, new electric bilge pumps, new cabin and nav lights, and a "m.a.c." on the alternator off the motor. A "m.a.c." is a manual alternator control that allows me to override the alternator and thus charge the batteries more quickly when running the motor for charging. Stanno's wonderful work has been overseen by Barry Rea (catering officer in charge of lunch) and it has also been accompanied by the odd swear word from yours truly as I have wrestled with the re-installation of the steering system and the grinding and fibreglassing (under the cockpit in an area that only a pygmy could fit) of the various bits and pieces to support the Autopilot.

Last Sunday was the 20th February and saw the second running of the Challenge of the Charities Yacht Race at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club. The day was all about having fun, introducing people to sailing and raising money for (and the profile of) the St Vincent's De Paul Society and Hunter Life Education. The day was a rip roaring success and raised approximately $8,500. I was glad to be able to assist the organisers by matching up the eager (over 200) paying participants with the owners of the 35 boats that were suitable and available for the two hour non-spinnaker race on Belmont Bay. After the race, amongst other things, a fashion parade of great hilarity was conducted of "selected garments" from St Vinnies second hand clothing outlets. All in all it was a great day and gave us an opportunity to get Solo Globe Challenger out of the marina pen and have some fun.

This weekend will see the finishing off of a few jobs and we hope to get out on the water for a time to at last give the Monitor Self-Steering Wind Vane it's first test run. I suggest that all vessels keep well clear but it should be interesting to watch.

My wife, Lorraine, continues to be my greatest supporter and deserves a medal for putting up with me. It is quite common for me to leave home at 6.00am to fit a couple of hours in on the boat before I go to work and then not get home until 7.30 or 8.00pm, to then work on splicing ropes in the lounge room or working on the computer etc. until 11.00pm or later. My dinner is always cooked and ready to eat, my clothes are always washed and ironed, and Holly and Jordan are well cared for. All this with a smile on her face. I reckon I am racking up a fairly sizeable debt to her.

Until "that" Sunday in October, take care.

Tony Mowbray