Update #22 - 27th September 2000
Only 18 days to go! Now it's getting very, very scary !!

The sick feeling in the stomach is still there. Never mind, it will go one day.

We pulled Solo Globe Challenger out of the water on Saturday morning and put her back in yesterday morning.

When hauling out we had a near catastrophe when a support arm on the slip cradle partially failed and the boat started to gradually fall forward as she was being hauled up the concrete ramp. She was headed for a big nose dive onto the concrete (all 8.5 ton of her) which would have resulted in unthinkable damage at this stage of proceedings. I was very fortunate to have some good mates there with me who all pitched in and within an hour or so we had her sitting back upright.

The haul out saw her given two nice thick coats of anti-foul paint to keep the ocean parasites at bay throughout the trip. We replaced the zinc anodes on the propeller and shaft, installed a new depth sounder transducer, buffed all the marks out of the topsides and gave her a good polish. The outlet for the toilet has been leaking a little so we serviced that fitting and replaced the stainless steel hose clamps on the rudder shaft bearing housing.

My thanks to Barry Rae. Dave Marshall, Gary Telford, Jon Lattimore, Phil Bamford and Steve Lamb for their help.

Last Tuesday night saw me as the guest speaker at the Short Handed Sailing Association of Australia meeting. We had a keen audience of about 60, many of whom purchased raffle tickets or provided support in other ways. The committee had a quick meeting and decided to lend me the 4 man liferaft that the association owns. The acquisition of a raft has been worrying me, as my older raft is not up to a fair dinkum test run deep in the Southern Ocean. A big thank you to the association.

As the countdown to the 15th really winds up I have great pleasure in telling you that Contac Mail have taken up a 3 day sponsorship package. Tony Sinclair (Managing Director) and Phil Bamford (National Sales Manager) take great pleasure in telling me that they think I'm a nut and that I'm crazy for having a go at this "around the world stuff". What they don't know is that I like hearing that sort of talk, it encourages me and makes me keener.

Last Wednesday night I was the guest of Morisset Rotary Club as their guest speaker for the evening. They are a great bunch of community minded people with whom I always enjoy being with. I have been there 4 or 5 times now over the last 6 years and feel as if I am almost an honorary member. The club donated $500 to the John Hunter Children's Hospital and club members, Neil and Rona Myers, who are the proprietors of RetireInvest Morisset have sponsored me for 1 day of my project. Other members made various contributions by way of raffle ticket purchases, etc.

I know they are going to follow the progress of Solo Globe Challenger and I look forward to being with them again upon my return.

Beef Jerky made by Ol' Pete right here in the Hunter Valley will be on board (200 packets in fact) with me on departure day. Peter Collins contacted me over 2 years ago and offered me as much of his product as I would care to take. It is good gear and chock full of protein. In return, Peter simply wants a photograph of his product and me with Cape Horn in the background.

Yesterday my new set of Henri Lloyd wet weather gear arrived along with new sea boots, safety harness and tethers, deck shoes and survival suit (I hope it stays in it packaging). Martin Burke at Burke Accessories has been very helpful with the purchase price and I thank him for his consideration.

There are still a lot of "hard yards" to cover over the next 18 days but somehow we will be there. As always, thank you for interest.

Tony Mowbray