Getting ready for the off...

As the start date approaches the challenges of the race are becoming more apparent. A particular issue is going to be how to stay hydrated. Under the rules of the race, I can’t have a water maker on the boat, and I can only carry enough water for about half the time I’m away. I’ve partly solved this by taking tinned food, but most of my meals are freeze dried and I will need to collect rainwater as I go. To do this, I can attach my hoses to a drain on my sprayhood which will then fill my water tanks - and buckets to collect water as it drains off the sail work quite well. I must be one of the only people hoping for regular rain clouds!

I’m a great fan of kefir, and have been making my own long before I planned this trip. One of my pleasures will be making this daily, using the grains given to me by my mother, with UHT milk to feed it. For those of you who don’t know, kefir is similar to yoghurt, and contains all sorts of vitamins and minerals as well as a healthy dose of bacteria. I won’t be able to get fresh food once my initial supplies run out, so it’s going to be really important to find a way of keeping healthy as I go. I’m also taking a sourdough starter so I can make bread - my brother and I are going to get this underway at the weekend so it’s ready and tested by the time I leave. Having these two resources with me will be great, and will remind me every day that my family are supporting me all the way.

Preparations on the boat are coming along. This week I went round to Hamble to have the back stay fitted with some insulators which will turn it into my HF antenna. Coming back, I spent 6 hours on deck enjoying the beautiful sunny weather, and foolishly got extremely sunburnt so I was very grateful for the Weleda skin food afterwards. Despite people commenting on my windburned face when I returned, I plastered on the skin food and it took all the heat out. I also, foolishly, lifted a lot of heavy gear, and I’m now using the arnica oil to great effect. There are definitely going to be times during the nine months of the race that I will be bruised and battered, having Weleda products with me will make a great difference!

Training in the lead up to the start has been quite demanding at times. On top of all the work needed to get the boat to the start line which hasn't always been the easiest. Only 2 and a half weeks to have everything completed before I set off for Plymouth to have a final rig tune up and then to Falmouth for the Parade of Sail.

I’m looking forward to the start, but the things I will miss are beginning to take on great importance as well: not just family and friends, but simple pleasures such as my daily walk around the lakes here in the morning, bike rides and yoga on a platform that doesn't move. And all the fresh food that I won't have for 9 months. Despite this, I can’t wait to get going - only 6 more weeks to the start...