What will be different this November?
In one sense not much will be different, but in another we have learned a great deal. First and foremost, we will address the structural failures that occurred at the end on the boom and the rigging attachments to the boat. In South Africa we re-engineered the end of the boom to better support the sheaves (pulleys) that were ripped out during the accidental jibe. This shall be carefully checked again and the boom, as well as the mast, will be scanned with ultrasound looking for any possible structural weaknesses. Next, we will totally replace the fittings of the rigging, which hold up the mast and sails to their attachment points on the boat. We will look seriously at the sail inventory, and will replace and modify to the conditions experienced.
Then there are many trivial items that have more to do with personal comforts, such as a greater variety of food, spices, and a wider selection of music and reading material. I will also be able to get some weight off of the boat as I was carrying some gear that I now know that I will not need.
Also, I am now a more experienced solo sailor. Prior to the challenge I had only sixteen days solo, but now I have some 65 solo days and those are in a variety of conditions. My experience, along with a stronger boat, gives me a greater level of confidence than I had before, and thus, I expect to sail more aggressively and faster.
Finally, I did not know how I would manage to be alone for those 150 or so days. Well, I survived 50 days solo, and while I found it hard going at times, it will be training for the next time so I will be better able to manage than otherwise would have been the case. Some sailors have gone bonkers after just a few days at sea and I have had a crew member approach me in the middle of the ocean saying he “wanted off.” It’s true we don’t know how we will react when out of sight of land with or without crew. But I have been tested and these are now major concerns. I am therefore better prepared and very excited to restart.