Last Friday I met with Kate Rawlings, Nerida Walker and Heidi Pollard of The John Hunter Children's Hospital and at that meeting it was decided that from now on my fund raising efforts will be focussed on raising as much money as we can to help with the purchase of ten "Vital Sign Systems Monitors" (at approximately $18,000 each). These machines are used in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and constantly monitor the following vital signs of premature babies born from 23 weeks (up to 17 weeks premature) gestation -
1) Babies electrocardiogram and heart rate
2) Respiration rate
3) Oxygen saturation in the blood
4) Blood pressure
I had the absolute privilege of being shown through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and saw a premature baby that was just so tiny it is almost beyond belief. Their smallest "miracle baby" that has survived weighed 500 grams (1.1 lb) at birth.
Their current machines will reach their "use by date" in the year 2001and I am going to raise as much money as I can to buy as many as I can. Will you help me ?
The last month or so has seen a concerted effort in preparing the necessary documentation to assist us in the securing of a major sponsor. We have a wonderful opportunity for a long term commercial relationship with the right corporation and I will keep you posted as progress is made.
A month or so ago I noticed that the motor was using a fair bit of fresh water and I was hoping that it was a split hose or whatever. When Barry Rae and I finally got around to having a look for the problem we discovered that a section of cooling system on the motor had corroded through and the only solution was to take the motor out for a major overhaul. Right now I have other things that I would prefer to be concentrating on, however I was going to take it out after the trip to New Zealand so let's just get on with it. We took it out 1½ weeks ago and it is currently in pieces looking for some tender loving care. I expect it to be another couple of weeks before it is back in the boat.
I was all set to bring Solo Globe Challenger out of the water last Friday afternoon for a clean down, some new anti-foul paint and some miscellaneous bits and pieces. The weather was not good with a lot of rain and more forecast for the weekend so I have rescheduled for next Friday to lift her out.
My last update referred in part to our upcoming test run of the Monitor Self-Steering Wind Vane. I can now report that the test run did take place without incident. What a magnificent piece of gear! Absolutely fantastic! I am looking forward to many miles under the keel with "Herbie" (or whatever I christen it ) in charge.
It looks like a number of prestigious engagements coming our way in the future.
The 3rd May is the media launch of The Masters Games that are to be held in Newcastle in 2001 and I have been asked if Solo Globe Challenger and I would be available to be involved.
Early October 2000 is programmed to see the re-enactment of Reid's Mistake (how the entrance to Lake Macquarie was discovered) to celebrate the Bicentenary of the city and it would appear as if the boat and myself will be part of the re-enactment.
August 2000 will see the Olympic Torch pass through the region on it's way to light the flame at the Sydney Olympics in September. There will be a special day of activities at Speers Point Park and it would appear that I may be the Master of Ceremonies on the day. I hope so!
The two handed race to New Zealand is looming (starts 13th May) and I am keen as keen to get out there. Unfortunately there are not as many entries as I envisaged. It will still be a good shakedown for "that" Sunday in October.
The weather was a "shocker" yesterday with lot of rain etc, however I spent the day working on the boat and had one of those days where everything I touched didn't exactly turn to gold. I gave up at about 3.30pm and came home in disgust.
I was back there again at 7.30am today, had a better run at it and came home with a feeling of achievement.
One has to tell one self, from time to time, that if sailing around the world solo was easy, then everyone would do it. My mate, Wally at the marina, says that I need to approach the whole thing as if I were eating an elephant. Just take one bite at a time!!