We have a week to prepare Tintin for the Atlantic crossing, and at times it feels as though we are creating lists faster than crossing things off them! But we welcomed Fred (aka David, my brother) and Ben back on board yesterday so now we have many hands on deck.
We have inspected our rig at deck level and up the mast - looking to make sure that any things that should be able to move, can do so, and checking that things that shouldn't move, don't. We feel the shrouds (the guy lines that hold up the mast) to find if any wires have snapped (all good so far) and we check that no cracks can be seen on the mast or boom. We check that shackles are done up tightly and that ropes are not showing signs of chafe. This is something we will need to check for on a daily basis when we sail, trying to make sure that ropes don't constantly rub on things that will make them wear out.
At the top of the mast it was quite windy but at least the boat wasn't moving much. It is s different story entirely at sea, and we hope to avoid the need to climb the mast then.
Today's tasks were to scrub the bottom of the boat and to service the engine. Both achieved - scuba divers Rob and James did a great job getting rid of the build up of slimey green stuff on the antifouling on the underwater part of the hull. We've also had a visit from Bob the SSB expert, (single side band radio) to check our set, which we will be using to keep in touch with other boats over a "radio net" during the crossing.
We continue to meet other crews from all over, and we're enjoying getting to know some of them. On our pontoon we have Irish Kurt and English Neil on one side (greetings to Stevie in Salcombe form Neil!), Germans on the other, then Jens and his family from Norway, then a Finnish women's crew. At yesterday's opening ceremony we volunteered to carry the European Union flag and hope it might not be the last chance to do so.
Tomorrow, 3 days of optional seminars start - with subjects ranging from the Atlantic Night Sky to Provisioning, First Aid at Sea to Emergency Navigation. We will start to plan our stores (how much pasta for a crew of 5 for 21 days at sea and then emergency reserves? how much loo roll? and importantly, how much beer?)
We have brought with us a wonderful array of treats given to us before we left home and they have been hidden away, to be brought out when required. Thank you all!