A stronger, safer and possibly faster Kiwi Spirit left Lyman Morse yards in Thomaston Maine for the 1,100nm voyage to St. Augustine, Florida for final preparations before a most likely departure on Saturday, November 8th.
It is stronger in that we have further reinforced the end of the boom that broke during an accidental jibe, replaced the fittings of the shrouds, genoa and staysail furlers to the deck with stronger pins complete with a threaded nut and split pin - very impressive. We have also strengthened the stanchions (life line supports) in a number of places. Batten pockets do not open at the aft ends and I won't suddenly loose a pair of them as I did last time. In the possibly "faster" category we have removed the reaching struts which held the clue of the reaching sails out further, rather like raising the flaps up on aircraft wings to go faster, and replaced them with two spinnaker poles which will also be used on the genoa and staysail. This will aid in going faster downwind and will be easier for me to handle. No one liked the reaching struts. There are also two more winches in the cockpit which will help in sail handling and aid in having some redundancy - winches break at times.
The departure date is "soft" as I wish to make sure I have good winds for the first ten days to get around Bermuda and not get stuck there in a windless hole as happened last time. I suspect I shall be able to give 24 hours notice of departure with earliest date being Saturday, November 8th.
Once again I am getting a little excited but it's more "unfinished business" this time. However once I get past the mid-south Atlantic where it all ended for me, I am sure the excitement will come roaring back. Last year the record for a solo was 150 days and age 58 and both have now been broken. The new standards set by two different sailors are 137 days and 70 years of age. I will try to beat both those records as well as to be the first to do it green.