Look out for the Cutting Edge documentary. There is no name agreed as yet and it is likely to be the end of October. We’ve seen some rough edits and it looks fantastic. There’s amazing footage of Mike sailing deep in the Southern Ocean and insight into the emotional rollercoaster that Mike and his family were on throughout the trip. It shows that the trip was much more challenging in many ways than Mike ever let on to us all at the time.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to and enjoyed these pages, particularly Mike’s keenest followers, the most avid commenters and of course to Mike Perham himself who did such a wonderful job of helping us all to live his adventure by proxy.
We intend to keep these pages live for the foreseeable future to record Mike’s adventure for posterity.
From all the team at TotallyMoney.com
This will be my last blog on this site as I am undertaking a new adventure next April.
I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has placed comments on this site. They really helped keep me going.
I hope you will be able to keep in touch with me on my new site www.challengemike.com
I am sorry there has been a delay in communicating my new site, but you know what it is like, builders often take longer than you think! Anyway, I am hoping all will be fully functional very shortly, so please bear with the ‘builders’. The blog page is not working just yet, but I am told will not be long.
It would be great to meet you. I will be at the Southampton Boat Show first Friday 11th, second Friday 18th, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th. I will be spending most of my time on the Bounty Boat stand (next to Guinness stand), so how about we meet there at 1pm on Saturday 19th September.
You have been very generous to the charities I have adopted. If you have not yet made a donation, please consider doing so now. We have already raised over £5,000. BIG thanks.
You have also been very good at clicking the adverts. This has raised over £1,000. BIG thanks also.
See you at www.challengemike.com
[Editor's note - please find below the official press release for Mike's New adventure
LONDON: Australian adventurer and solo round the world sailor, Don McIntyre announced today that Mike Perham, the world's youngest solo circumnavigator, has signed up as Second-in-command for the 2010 Bounty Boat Expedition. This is a 4,000-mile re-enactment 221 years after Capt William Bligh and his supporting crew were forced into an open-boat by the mutineering crew on HMS Bounty and successfully sailed from Tonga to Timor in the Pacific.
McIntyre and Perham will face the same deprivations, with little food, no charts or toilet paper and only the limited navigation implements that were available to Bligh.
The search is now on for two extra crew to join this expedition, which has a serious scientific purpose, as well as raise money for MND research. This opportunity of a lifetime to re-create history will cost each individual £10,000 to participate. Only those with an extreme sense of adventure need apply.
McIntyre and Perham: will follow in the footsteps of Capt. William Bligh when cast adrift from HMS Bounty in the Pacific on April 28, 1789. This McIntyre and his 3-man crew will board their 25ft ‘Bounty Boat’ in the same position exactly 221 years to the day of the Bounty Mutiny and follow in the footsteps of Bligh. They will first sail to Tonga to find extra food and water, before heading westwards across the top of Fiji and the Vanuatu Island groups, bound for the Queensland Coast, Australia to land, like Bligh, on Restoration Island. They will then sail north inside the Great Barrier Reef to Thursday Island, and then through the Torres Strait to Kupang and Timor.
If successful, this will be the first time that anyone has sailed the same course in the same way that Bligh did. Previous attempts in 1983 and 1990 both used almanacs and charts for navigation, torches, modern timepieces, and also made unscheduled stopovers, did not follow the same route or were escorted part of the way. McIntyre and Perham will have no charts, no almanacs, modern timepieces or navigation equipment, torches, or toilet paper.
A GPS tracking system: locked away from the crew, will track McIntyre and Perham’s every 2 hours for the outside world to follow. The only other concession to the 21st Century will be a liferaft and other essential safety equipment, together with a satellite computer link for the 4-man crew to send daily blogs, photos and audio clips to tell their story and for psychologists and oceanographic scientists to monitor their progress and findings.
The gear that McIntyre and crew will rely on
18th century octant and sextant, two 18th century pocket watches, nautical tables, boat compass, telescope, rope knot meter, lead line, ink pens and ink, note books, log book, magnifying glass. No charts allowed, no modern watches, no nautical almanac, and no compass light.
Clothing and personal kit - each crew
Sun hat, warm hat, expedition shirt, expedition long pants, tough shorts, thermal top, thermal pants, waterproof shoes, Gore-tex weather jacket and pants, sheep skin, inflatable life-jacket/ safety harness with knife torch and strobe, 406-GPS POB.
No torches, no iPod no books
Bounty Boat will set off with the same weight of food and water that Bligh had when he was cast adrift from the Bounty.
Bounty Boat details
Construction: Traditional lap strake/clinker
Length overall: 25ft (7.62m)
Beam 6.3ft (1.92m)
Load displacement with 4 crew: 1.6 Tonnes
Visit the Bounty Boat at the Southampton Boat Show
The Bounty Boat will be a special feature at the Southampton Boat Show (September 11-20). Don McIntyre and the Bounty Boat team will be on hand to answer all your questions - Why not pop down and visit us.]
It’s now been over a week since I arrived back here in the UK and wow what a week it’s been!
I’ve been seeing friends, catching up on all the latest news and am starting to finally settle into a more normal sleep pattern at last.
I’ve been so used to sleeping in 40minute bursts and always grabbing sleep during the day that it always takes a little while to get used to not having naps, but that’s part of the job really.
What’s starting to take up a lot of time now, is the launch of the next project. The Launch is TOMORROW!
I’ll be at St Katherine’s dock tomorrow at 11am at the Dickens Inn unveiling my next adventure.
Wait and see what it is. I’m sure it’ll go down quite a storm and cause some surprised grins around everyone as I don’t think many would ever guess. It’s certainly a very different kind of adventure from the one I’ve just had and is going to be a lot tougher in many ways. Excited? I sure am!
Let me throw some clues out there, none of which will be any use of course but should hopefully be intriguing…
It’s not going to be close to home, it includes land, it includes water, it includes fish eyes, it includes wood, it includes rain, it includes loneliness, it includes people, it includes warmth, it includes cold, and just to throw a spanner in the works.. It doesn’t include toilets. Try and work that one out!
Another adventure looming closer and closer still though is my first driving lesson!
Fiona Perham, Heather Perham, Mike Perham, Peter Perham
It’s been an exciting last 2 days after arriving back into Portsmouth that’s for sure. I was totally knackered the first night and was very grateful for my nice warm, stable and quiet bed and an early night. I hit the sack at 10 in the evening after the neighbours came in to celebrate me coming home.
As I drove back from Portsmouth with a few friends and we were driving up my road we saw in the distance that the neighbours had totally decorated the whole circle that I live on with loads of flags, banners and bunting. A real warm feeling bubbled up inside me when I saw this and then saw my house, the last one on the whole road.
Yesterday it was nice to have a good chance to see some friends and do some catching up. It’s certainly been a long time so in the evening I went out to a great restaurant with some of them.
Things are getting a little more back to normal now what with a nice messy bedroom, clothes littered about everywhere needing washing and the kitchen piled up with stuff to go in the dishwasher! The whole house does look a bit like I have taken over.
A lot of the house has now taken on a real ‘boat’ smell now and even some of my clothes smell rather strange which is funny. I keep getting odd looks.
BIG thanks to all the friends that offered their boot space in Portsmouth to get all my stuff back home. It now totals 15 loads and there are still a couple more to come.
This afternoon I was in good old Tesco’s doing a shop up with Mum and it was funny to see a few people recognise me from the TV and papers. Most people I’ve met say I’ve barely changed. Sure I’ve grown and matured a little but I’m still that fun loving 17 year old with a mental age of 8 who loves having fun and loads of laughs.
Thank you to everyone for all the lovely emails that have been coming in from all over the world. It really makes me smile seeing them and I feel a sense of pride for everyone that has made this trip happen.
Also, thank you to everyone who has been donating to the charities. The two are really close to my heart and also hopefully later this year I’ll be able to do some sailing with the Tall Ships Youth Trust which I’m looking forward to.
I’m off now to go and draw a raffle at the ‘big summer event’ here where I live, so I better dash. I’ll update later.
Oh and just to tease you all….. I hope to be announcing my next adventure on the 8th September!!!
Heather and I just wanted to say, what a pleasure, encouragement, entertainment and how informing it has been to read everyone’s comments each day. Team Mike started off as the Perham family, but now we feel it has grown to everyone who has contributed to Mikes voyage. Where ever he stopped, he was helped, when ever he had problems he was helped and throughout the trip he was encouraged.
Mike had to overcome many hurdles and I would often say, ‘Give yourself a pat on the back’. His voyage is now complete and as you played such an important role, please give yourselves a ‘pat on the back’ for all the effort you put into making us laugh and smile.
BIG thanks to everyone who has contributed to Mike’s charities. When I looked today, you have now raised over £4,000.
BIG thanks also to everyone who has clicked on the adverts. This has raised over £900.
Mike is often asked, ‘What next?’ On 8th September he hopes to announce something.
We feel it would be great to get all the regular bloggers together sometime, so we hope to be able to invite you to a gathering in the not too distant future.
Mike will be maintaining his blogs. However, today Mike has had a lovely ‘normal’ day and says he will post tomorrow.
Cherio for now
Thanks to everyone who turned up to see me arrive at Portsmouth! It was certainly a very special moment for me. I couldn’t believe the amount of people that lined the harbour walls, all the way along the bay! I heard the huge cheer as I held up the flares and was fit to burst with happiness, no one could take the smile off my face, that’s for sure!
I was careful not to do too much shouting off the boat this time, I didn’t want to lose my voice like I did on Thursday when I crossed the line, not good for the waiting TV crews now – it would have been like a silent movie!
I feel so very honoured by my reception, the flotilla of boats in the Solent with crews shouting messages of congratulations, as well as the thousands of people waiting at Gunwharf. Not to mention the army of photographers – I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many cameras in one place! I really do feel a sense of pride, and not just for me, but also for everyone who has really made this happen for me and made it such a special adventure. Without my mini-army of sponsors, especially, Totallymoney.com, Vocalink, Skechers, Kemp Sails, Mastervolt, Hill Dickinson, Underwriting Risk Services, and the High Group but to mention a few, none of this would have ever happened, full credit to them for believing in me and my family. They believed in our adventure and it’s thanks to their passion that we’ve got to the finish. Because it’s not just me doing this trip, it’s WE. The big team behind everything numbering hundreds of people and they’ve become more like family than just sponsors.
Huge thanks also to all my friends and family who’ve been so supportive throughout the whole trip. They’ve always been happy to take a call via satellite phone and have a good chat and it’s meant a lot to me being able to do that. On another note, but still a note of thanks, I’d like to thank everyone who has commented on my blog or sent an encouraging email through to me. These comments always made me smile and never, ever failed to lift my spirits – they have genuinely made a big difference, especially in the tougher moments of the trip. I read every single one that comes through and I’ve always felt very touched by your warm messages, so thank you!
I picked two charities close to my heart that I wanted to support and raise money for on this trip and thank you to everyone who has donated to them; it really does make a big difference. If you haven’t already noticed the link on the bottom left of the website, click on it and have a look. The Tall Ships Youth Trust tries to get as many people out on the water sailing and it’s always a fantastic feeling, to see a child’s face light up when they feel the water move beneath them for the first time. As for Save the Children, well they do what it says on the tin! They’re out there doing fantastic work, saving the children!
Anyhow, I’m very much looking forward to sleeping in my very own bed tonight which won’t be rocking about all the time and making strange noises and whooshing sounds like running water. It’s been an incredible day and one I’ll never, ever forget that’s for sure.
It’s been one laugh after another today with my new crew on board, with many, many bad jokes constantly being told. Our spirits are high and we’re all taking the mickey out of each other non-stop!
It’s been wet, windy and pretty choppy all of the night and today as a good old gale decided to grace us with it’s beautiful presence! No rest for the wicked. So after sailing around the first headland, which was I have to say, only after a lovely tour of the bay (killing time there), we headed out into the Channel, gybed round before we hit the separation zones (basically the M25 of shipping) and sailed back into Lyme Bay to try and seek a little shelter in the lee of the land there.
With loads of time to get to Portsmouth we’ve spent the last 18hours or so sailing up and down and up and down and… If you check out the tracker you’ll see what I mean. It was great to be in the lee of the land and we only had about 30knots of breeze instead of the 38 offshore. So that’s what we’ve been doing all day really, getting dizzy sailing up and down the same bit of water killing time and telling bad jokes. Oh and eating STEAK!!!!
Tonight I finally made the call to turn our bow out into the channel once more and we’re now heading to our gybe point where we will be able to turn and really point straight for the Needles and the Isle of White. It will be so fantastic to see them again. It’s been quite a while!
Yikes, I’m really getting excited for tomorrow now though, the big homecoming! For me, this really is the finish as it’s actually where I step ashore onto dry land and the boat actually stops. The line is the official point but personally, it’s seeing my friends and family which will really make it for me. Only 11hours until I dock into Gunwharf Quays today, Saturday at 11am!
Nothing’s changed on board as I still always do my emails late at night. Old habits die hard. Well it’s certainly going to be great to see everyone tomorrow and I’m just so so excited! It’s my turn on ‘watch’ now so I better go look out for some ships, but really my eyes will be straying to the night sky, there’s no clouds about, it’s crystal clear and I’m sure there’s going to be some shooting stars out soon.
Hello everyone, Mike’s Dad here again from on board Totallymoney.com.
I just wanted to let everyone know the sequence of events for tomorrow as Mike sails along the south coast on the final stretch of his journey - we’re really looking forward to seeing everyone who’s planning to come to Gunwharf Quays tomorrow at 11am to welcome Mike home!
6am Mike will pass the Needles
10.30am Mike will enter Portsmouth harbour
11am Arrival at Gunwharf Quays
11.01am Let the celebrations begin!
After a night of no sleep and lots of dodging of fishing boats, I found myself closing in on the Lizard for about half-nine. HMS MERSEY did me the very great honour of escorting me to the finish line. Is was also chuffed to bits to see a Royal Navy chopper from Culdrose had also been sent out to join me and they collected some great footage and photographs. I also heard the banter on board the chopper – and it was quite something too! A number of ribs sent out by the main TV networks came and joined in the fun.
So as I closed on the finishing line and sailed just offshore of the Lizard, staying clear of all the rocks and as I crossed it HMS MERSY blew all her horns. I lit two flares, as what’s become tradition these days with single-handed sailors. The Media boats immediately converged for interviews and photos and I certainly had quite a smile on my face that’s for sure!
I then sailed up into Falmouth water to pick up the crew and all their gear for the delivery. The transfer was all a bit hairy that’s for sure with a short chop building and Totallymoney.com moving along at around 8knots after I had slowed her right down to help with the crew getting on board. My dad, Phil, and Adam have now joined me on Totallymoney.com and it’s a real pleasure to have them on board. Although I have to say at first I wasn’t impressed at just quite how much gear they had all brought! However when I learnt that the biggest and heaviest bag was completely full of food, well, that certainly brought a smile to my face!
So once the crew was on board, we continued sailing east and pointed our nose in the direction of home. But not quite. We’ve got loads of time to now get to Portsmouth for Saturday and as I’ve got a really windy forecast I’m taking all the long way round. Just as an example, instead of sailing right for the headland we actually went for what we like to call a ‘tour’ of the bay!
I couldn’t quite believe what I had for dinner tonight. STEAK!!! That’s right, nice steak on an Open 50 which is being bounced around during the teeth of a gale! Good of Tesco’s to provide them for us, and get this, they’re their ‘finest’ steaks too! Dad surprised me with his good cooking too!
A huge thanks to all my sponsors and everyone who has helped me along the way. It was really good to get lots of messages from them all with warm smiles attached. So I’m now across the line. But still, for me, the trip doesn’t really end until I arrive in Portsmouth, as that was where I really left from, in my mind. Bring on the homecoming and some solid ground to stand on – Gunwharf Quays on Saturday at 11am for the ‘proper’ finish. See you there!
Wow! Thanks so much to everyone who has donated to my charities, Tall Ships Youth Trust and Save the Children. You are all amazing.
Hello everyone, Mike’s Dad here, from on board Totallymoney.com.
Well as you all no doubt know by now, Mike crossed the start/finish line, which runs between Lizard Point and Ushant in France at 09:47:30 this morning.
He was escorted across the line by HMS Mersey and a Royal Navy helicopter from Culdrose.
Mike phoned me about 20 minutes later – I happened to be shopping for supplies in Tesco at the time! He then sailed into Falmouth Bay and some members of the Falmouth Sailing School kindly took me out to meet him.
There were a couple of ribs full of press circling Totallymoney.com. When we got past them and boarded Totallymoney.com, Mike and I had the best hug in the world!
We’re now proceeding up the English Channel at about 4knots and we’re both really looking forward to arriving at Gunwharf Quay at 11am this Saturday. Mike certainly doesn’t feel that his voyage is over until he ties up at Gunwharf. It’s been really great for us to have this time to catch up and for Mike to reflect upon the trip.
Thank you all for giving to Mike’s chosen charities – it’s great to see the donation buttons being pressed ever more frequently. Thanks very much! Don’t forget to keep clicking on the adverts on our website as well.
Goodbye for now and I hope to see you all on Saturday!
Wow, what an exciting last couple of days it’s been as I’ve neared the finish now, and they’ve not been without drama too! Hurricane Bill passed through last night and it was blowing up to 45knots with some really nasty seas. Quite a ding-dong moment. Totallymoney.com performed fantastically as always and was solid as a rock.
This morning as the wind decreased, I increased sail considerably and set off heading straight for the finish line, a pretty special feeling. I bunged the genneker up once the wind had dropped below 26knots and off we zoomed!
I spent a couple of good hours today at the helm steering Totallymoney.com along. As usual, she accelerated out of every wave; it was a real pleasure just to feel her come alive and surf down all the waves. I’m really going to miss her and the feeling of her fearlessly surfing along in heavy seas, not slowing down for anything. She’s handled this trip beautifully, what a boat!
I’ve been thinking a lot today about the whole trip and now that it’s coming to a real end it does feel a bit weird. I feel like I just want it to keep going so I can have many more adventures. At the same time I do feel like I’ve now done my time, as it were and I’m very much looking forward to being back on dry land in a few days and being able to think about other things than just the trip. It seems to have ruled my world and almost every thought for the last year!
But more than anything I feel incredibly excited about crossing the finish line off the Lizard and seeing my family again. The last time I saw Dad was in New Zealand, about as far away from home as possible! So I’m very much looking forward to the reunion and his cheesy smile and all the rubbish jokes he brings along. He’s now taken to rating his sneezes in terms of loudness, public effect, echo and ring on a scale of 1 to 10. What a great Dad!
I’m also very much excited about sailing up the channel for the homecoming in Portsmouth Gunwharf Quays on Saturday at 11am. That’s going to be quite some party!
Well it’s getting very busy with shipping now and there are loads of fishing boats around too, so I have to keep extra vigilant. I need to go check a few things on deck too so gotta dash. I should be crossing the line tomorrow morning between 8am and 9am, if all goes to plan.
Many thanks again to all those who have donated to my charities so far, if not please consider donating. These charities are very close to my heart.
Well, Hurricane Bill is really kicking in now. The wind has built up to around 40knots and it is still increasing up hour by hour. The cold front that will deliver the biggest punch will pass through between midnight and 4am and that’s certainly going to give me a good kick up the backside!
So this morning (Tuesday), I was in slow mode and, for the first time ever this trip I was actually pleased to see I was only travelling at 5knots in a good breeze. I’m still ahead of schedule, so I need to slow down even more tomorrow.
I’ve currently got a handkerchief size of sail up but Totallymoney.com just wants to go and there’s no stopping her! She’s currently doing around 9.5knots, but I’m sure she’ll slow down quite a bit tomorrow morning. I only need to average 6knots to cross the line on Thursday morning, so I’ll really have to put the brakes on tomorrow.
Everything is getting really, really exciting for the crossing of the line and also for the homecoming at Gunwharf Quays on Saturday at 11am. I’ve been doing tonnes of interviews over the satellite phone, all made possible by Clearpoint Weather’s sponsorship. Thanks guys! We use Clearpoint all the time for our weather routing and it’s really great!
Tonight is going to be my last chance to get some of goodish sleep as I’m certain I won’t get a minute’s peace tomorrow, what with all the crazy shipping running up and down the English Channel. So although it’s blowing a really good gale outside, I need to make the most of tonight to get in some good zzzz…
Many thanks to those who have donated to my charities so far, if not please consider donating. These charities are very close to my heart.
Well, there was some fun surfing last night, that’s for sure! This ‘Bad Boy Low’, as it’s now been christened, certainly did what it said on the tin. Totallymoney.com was really zipping along at times, surfing down some totally huge swells, the biggest of which were over 45 feet!
But this morning I did something I’ve never done this trip yet. I actually put on the ‘brakes’. I reduced sail considerably and slowed from 11knots to nine. We’ve decided that it’d be better if I’m not too close to the shore when Hurricane Bill hits. I’m much happier out here with lots of sea room, so I can just let Bill pass overhead; it’s much better to be in a ding-dong away from the coast. The other reason for my slowing is that I’ve made such good progress across the North Atlantic, that I’m almost a day ahead of my scheduled arrival!
Having said that, despite the reduced sail, Totallymoney.com is still surfing along quite merrily with only a handkerchief up. The downside of not being so powered up is that the boat’s movement has significantly changed, I’m rocking and rolling about a lot more. To help deal with this, and to keep a reasonable distance from Bill, I’m intentionally sailing into a ridge of high pressure, so the wind is going to drop off much more, which will be nice as I haven’t had a day of light-ish conditions for quite a long time.
As I’ve drawn closer to home, much of the my day has been taken up with interviews. I was even emailed a complete schedule of interviews with one straight after the other at one point. The funniest point of the whole day though was being told over the phone that the BBC had done their own special forecast on TV just for me, telling everyone how the rapidly-approaching Hurricane Bill is going to affect little old me. Seems like things are certainly hotting up for crossing the finish line on Thursday and then arriving in Portsmouth on Saturday, which I’m just so excited about! See you there!
What a day! It really feels like I’m certainly not having an easy last week in at the moment. Things went really pear-shaped this afternoon.
I was standing on deck, leaning on the coachroof, gazing out across the sea when suddenly WHACK! we hit something. The tiller started to jar about and the autopilot was really, really struggling to control it. ‘What on earth,’ I thought? Had I broken a rudder? Was something caught on the rudder? Was the shaft bent?
I jumped in the stern and noticed that the mount for the autopilot ram was partially torn away and I could hear that not-so-lovely noise of cracking fiberglass. Incredible how one second everything is fine, the next everything is going wrong!
I turned off the pilot and then manually tested the rudders, how they were behaving with the tiller – still loads of jarring! I peered over the back but couldn’t see anything amiss.
I needed to change over the ram to the other side with the other good mount for my other ram. I had to slow down a bit for this job in case anything went wrong and so I furled away the solent and put a reef in the main for good measure.
With the pilot off and the tiller being nudged and kicked from one side to the other by me making alterations every now and again, Totallymoney.com was weaving quite dramatically.
I knocked out the pin for the ram, hoisted it over to the other side and started to set it up. All the while I was steering by ‘feel’. But I was down for a little too long and I couldn’t feel the boat well enough. We suddenly plunged into a nice crash gybe which I had no chance of pulling out of.
The main whacked up against the running backstay and because it was pinned there, we rounded up into a stiff 30knot breeze nicely. Now the first time this happened on this trip, somewhere in the Atlantic on leg 1, it was quite a shock. Now, however, I’ve gotten – well, let’s say ‘well-practiced’ at this, as it’s happened a good few times since then!
When the main’s pinned and rounded up, I’ve learned to leave the preventer on rather that letting the main swing to the other side fully and this in effect creates a sail. With the wind on the bow and the main pinned up, we started sailing backwards, just as I had hoped. In a weird way we even surfed a little, reaching 6knots! Once I had enough speed I swung the tiller over and we reversed round, just as if backing out of a parking space. The main caught the wind on the side and Totallymoney.com set off again downwind.
When we were reversing I suddenly felt the tiller go ‘free’ and it became a lot easier to move. I think something had hit the rudder and became stuck on it, which had caused the erratic movement and a heck of a lot of extra strain. So whatever it was fell off! YES!
Next, I had to reconfigure the pilot to work on the other side of the boat as all of it’s lefts and rights were mixed up! This is easier said than done and as the pilot performed it’s ‘test’ we came a little too close to both broaching and gybing for comfort, but it was all okay in the end and I bunged the pilot back on.
But the fun wasn’t over at all! When we had gybed, the battern attachment had snapped clean right by the head of the sail and the battern had now slid out from the front of the sail by about 10inches. Not good! Now I was faced with an hour long struggle to get the main wound down. In the end it was thanks to a broom and some string that I finally succeeded, having caught the battern on about every possible thing on the rig! It was a quick fifteen-minute job to replace the attachment, put the battern back in and tension it up and then put it back on the mast track.
Then came the really hard bit, getting the main up the mast again. It was blowing 30knots and because the head of the sail is so flipping large it was forever catching on the lazy jacks and it took an hour and a half and lots of up-and-down and up-and-down and up, to finally get the main up to the first reef mark. I threw in the reef, got everything tensioned and set and headed down into the cabin, cold, wet, feeling pretty knackered and, more than anything, hungry!
Our ‘bad boy low’ is delivering tonight and I’ve currently got 35knots of wind and some serious seas. A rough 40foot swell too! The sea has picked up so much because this low has had a long chance to really build up in the same area and so we’re now seeing the effects of that. I’ll be saying ‘hi’ to Hurricane Bill in the early hours of Wednesday, but it doesn’t look so bad now, although it’s headed in a more southerly direction than I would have liked. I’ll write more in-depth on the approaching hurricane tomorrow, I think this blog is long enough!!
I am now so close to the edge of my seat, I don’t know why I haven’t fallen off! It seems that the less miles Mike has to do, the more things I think of that can go wrong. Just when I was telling friends this leg has been relatively free of drama Mike phoned me yesterday to say he had to go up the mast.
The Google adverts are really helping and for your interest your clicking has now raised over £600. Many thanks……………please continue………
The Sunday Times has featured Mike on page three today and BBC News have asked for a couple of interviews. Please see link below.
One of Mike’s key objectives of the voyage was to try to raise money for the Tall Ships Youth Trust and Save The Children. We thought if he raised a pound a mile that would be amazing but possible especially when you compare Mike’s endurance, compared to other fund raising initiatives. I have to say, Mike and I are a little dissapointed that he has only raised a few hundred pounds for each charity so far. Perhaps people are waiting to see if he finishes or perhaps people don’t no how to give? Perhaps our expectations are too big? What ever the reasons if you are able to give a small amount to one of Mike’s charities I know the money will be used for activities that Mike holds very close to his heart and it will make this voyage even more worthwhile than it already is.
We are watching the weather and hopefully Mike will be able to sail up the Solent on Saturday morning to reach Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth at 11am.
Really, what is it with me and mast climbs?! Yes that’s right, I was up there once again today, and this time right up to the masthead. It was certainly quite a view. Definitely a case of ‘don’t look down’ – a nice blow of 25knots made it all the more interesting too!
Right, so as the wind went round to 285 and I started to head off ESE, I gybed Totallymoney.com round to head up NE. This went without a hitch, or so I thought. I was looking up at the rig when I noticed something really odd. The running backstay which goes up about two thirds of the way up the mast was hanging a little limply and wasn’t in tension like the other two (masthead and halfway point). This totally threw me; I couldn’t understand why on earth this one was hanging limp while the others were bar tight.
I grabbed the binoculars, lay back on the deck to get into a steady position and scoured the rig. Nothing stood out – which was a bad/good thing. I checked everything on deck too; every forestay and fitting. Nope, nothing wrong there either.
I furled away the foresail to take a bit of pressure off the rig and reached the conclusion that the middle backstay was so loose because the top backstay had somehow caught and was pulling much more than necessary.
The wind had eased and I reluctantly wound on the mainsail as tight as I dared – this would give the rig some support and I let off the backstays completely. Not a terribly safe thing to do. Just one powerful gust and the rig would want to fall forwards.
I took the masthead backstay off the block and put the other two back on to give the rig some support whilst I tried to figure out what was wrong.
All of the backstays are made of PBO (very, very, very strong rope) – just as strong as wire rigging, sometimes stronger. As I thought that the backstay was caught right at the top, I tried everything I could think of to try and loosen it a little more, but seeing no change through the binocs, and with strong conditions forecast for tomorrow, I knew I’d have to head up there myself and do some investigating.
So I donned the harness and padding, phoned Dad to let him know what I was up to and a few minutes after that, having checked and rechecked all my gear, I began my ascent.
It took a good fifteen minutes to get up there, and I really didn’t want to look down. I’m no fan of heights and being whacked up against a rig 60foot in the air with a good 25knot breeze and a lumpy sea buffeting Totallymoney.com about isn’t a pleasant experience.
Once at the top, which was the first time that I’d been right up there, all it took was one glance to see that there was simply no problem! More bad/good news! But what on earth was affecting the backstay?! By now I could see a squall fast approaching, so it was time to head deckwards.
It takes much longer to get down – a good 40minutes. I checked every fitting along the way and was pleased to see nothing was amiss. Once down on the deck, as I unclipped myself from the halyard using the two carabineers, I practically collapsed and spent a minute or so getting my breath back. I felt pretty elated that I’d made it all the way to the top and safely down again.
But the job wasn’t finished by any means. I phoned Dad again; he was relieved to hear that I was fine, just a little bruised here and there. I put the backstay back on the block with the other two, checked all the lashings, wound it back on nicely and what do you know, it was suddenly all perfect! I don’t know what I did during the course of taking it off an putting it back on to fix the problem but I was totally elated. Job done, I unfurled the Genneker, Totallymoney started careering along once again and I sat down for a well earned rest and choccy bar!
Another box ticked! I’ve now sailed past the 1000mile to go mark and as I write this I’ve currently got 976nm to go! Although it may not be far now, it certainly looks as if the last week is hardly going to be a nice smooth one, thanks to the good old Bad Boy Low above me, and my good friend Hurricane Bill careering along to join me on Tuesday when I should be somewhere in between the Fastnet rock and Lands End.
A few people have asked me to comment on the approaching hurricane so here goes: The Weather Man hat is now on. Over the next four days, ‘Bill’ is going to probably grace Newfoundland with its presence, and then, as it moves into the Gulf Stream, it’ll head east towards the UK. Mike Broughton (my weather router) and I both reckon it is probably going to position itself just off the NW of Ireland and so in MB’s own words should ‘give us some fun and games’!
As it approaches the UK it will begin to dissipate. By the time I start experiencing it’s effects I shouldn’t see much more than a gale really. Although ‘Bill’ is the strongest hurricane so far this year, it still doesn’t come close in terms of nastiness to some of the systems that MB has seen trucking along in the Southern Ocean and which I’ve had to dodge.
It’s great having an Open 50 whereby I can actually position myself exactly in the best possible position to experience the best conditions. If I was in a slower normal boat, I probably wouldn’t be able to dodge the really bad weather.
Coming back to today and tomorrow. Our nice ‘Bad Boy Low’s’ associated cold front will be passing around about midday with a trough line following behind it, which will give me a good lot of rain and wind for an hour or so. Well that’s the weather over, now to the news.
I’ve had an exciting day surfing along at some really great average speeds, in the last twelve hours I’ve covered 140miles! I had the genneker up this morning, but it just got far too windy this afternoon, so I dropped it. The swell has really picked up too and Totallymoney.com is into turbo-surfing mode at the moment. When the sea is flat, our speeds are really quite steady, but when it’s lumpy as it is now, boat speed fluctuates between 11 and 15knots and Totallymoney.com surfs and weaves her way through the waves. I’ll never cease to be impressed by how well the B&G pilot handles high-speed surfs. She’s incredibly responsive and never falters when under tremendous pressure.
I was thinking earlier about just how much of my electrical equipment on board has died during the course of this trip, and it’s a bit of a joke really. Three video cameras, two still cameras, a number of chargers, two inverters, two battery chargers, one sat phone, one laptop, one autopilot (never properly working in the first place), all manner of audio and video leads, two sets of headphones and two hands-free kits. And that’s just what I can rattle off the top of my head!!! I think it’s safe to say that an Open 50, which, let’s be honest, is a very wet boat, is just not the place for electrical equipment which isn’t splashproof. It gets very damp inside, it gets hot as anything and is often very humid too. Not a good combination. Put that together with basically being shaken about continually for about 150 days and I think we’ve got our cause of death.
Before I left I told the film guys making the documentary that I expected half their equipment to fall ‘ill’ and it really has! It’s not like I haven’t taken the best possible care for it, just the stuff isn’t built to be shaken about continually in a nice damp 50ft surfboard.
After last night’s racing, things have slowed up quite a bit today as the wind dropped off to around 15knots, but this won’t last long as tonight it’s going to pick up once again. The small low pressure I was riding yesterday has now moved along and we’re now really hooking up into what Mike Broughton, my weather router, has aptly called the ‘Bad Boy Low’. This is going to give me solid wind for the next five days or so as it moves across the Atlantic to Ireland where it will stall.
It looks like a real whopper but the wind strengths are totally manageable and shouldn’t fall to the wrong side of 40knots. The good thing is that this system will provide me with great predictable winds, which should speed me homewards.
It’s been really nippy today and I really felt the cold earlier as I went outside for a little too-refreshing bucket over the head shower. It was still well worth it despite the rather mixed feelings I felt the moment the freezing water poured over my head!
I’ve been on the phone a lot more in the last few days, doing quite a few interviews and live radio link ups, which has been good fun as always. Earlier I was on the phone to one of my best mates and it was really great to have a good catch up and talk about loads of different stuff. It’s a little weird to think I’m only eight days away now when I’ve been away for so long and haven’t seen my friends for ages. I’m dead excited to catch up with them though. I’ve lots of stories to tell!
Earlier on, as I was changing up from Solent to Genneker, I pretty much ran into and I think possibly over a few of a large flock of birds that were happily bobbing about in the water. Oops! I saw a few fly up from right by the waterline, so perhaps my bow wave saved them. They flew around us for ten minutes or so before settling down again.
I’ve also seen a few more dolphins on and off today at random times. No big groups or anything, just a couple here and there, which has been a real treat for me. I love sitting on deck watching them swim through the water easily outrunning Totallymoney.com, and so swiftly too.
I’m really looking forward to my arrival; it’s looking like Saturday the 29th at Gunwharf Quays. The forecast for the next five days is pretty good so, short of any major problems, I’m pretty confident that’s when I’ll be back, so see you all then!
I’ve been rocketing along so I’ve had a large grin on my face today knowing that Totallymoney.com is eating up the miles. It’s so brilliant to feel her so nicely powered up and rock solid as we surf along and punch through everything. She becomes a whole different kind of boat in 25+ knots of wind and it’s literally like standing at the back of a 50ft long surf board because she just wants to leap into every trough and surf away.
Another box ticked, as I’ve now passed the 1500mile-to-go mark, in fact I’ve actually got even less than 1400nm to go now! Excited!
I did a very dumb thing today. I was leaning over to turn off the light switch on the switchboard and as I did this in a slightly half-asleep mode, Totallymoney.com bounced on a wave, I stumbled slightly and just as my finger was about to flick the switch for the lights, it dropped the 2cm or so down to the next switch and turned the auto pilot off!
I slumped back to put my head on the pillow again and as I glanced at the pilot readings I noticed a blank screen with no power! Bummer! We had just come out of a big surf at 18knots or so and I could feel the boat instantly gearing up for the next. I could also feel the boat starting to lean a good bit downwind and as I immediately looked through the hatch at the position of the tiller I noticed that the pilot had left it off to one side and we were on our way into a beautiful crash gybe. I sprung up as quick as lightning, not giving a dam about just wearing socks and no boots or foul weather gear and in record time sprung up into the cockpit and grabbed the helm and pulled it across fully and just managed to avoid what would have been a nasty, nasty crash gybe. Once Totallymoney.com was under control again, I dropped down into the cabin, flicked the switch back on and set the pilot up again. It was all over in seconds, but it certainly woke me up out of the dreamy mode that I’d just been in!
The good news is that the forecast for the next few days is totally brilliant and I’m going to be making very good progress towards home. I’m heading north east now to hook up with a good sized low pressure that is currently barreling across the Atlantic.
And finally…I was asked the question ‘How do I keep the chocolate on board from melting when it gets really hot’. Simple answer really, I don’t. It melts and as it gets colder on board it forms into this beautiful deformed chocolate mass, which is what I’m eating these days. Beautiful deformed chocolate goo, mmm!
What a speedy night! I made great progress and managed to stay in front of the high-pressure bubble, which is really good news – this means the wind has kept up. The ridge of high pressure is going to pass by tonight though, so as it does the wind will most likely go round to the SW and then back up to the NW as the low front approaches and really speeds us along.
Today the sea started kicking up into a steep and lumpy swell. I imagine this is because I’ve left the ’shelter’ of the grand banks, so I’m now seeing everything that’s barreling down from the North Atlantic, hurried along by the massive lows that have been riding across recently.
I did a bit of cleaning today on board Totallymoney.com. A tin of chicken had managed to spilt open in one of my drawers – sauce had gotten over all the food packets and had also dripped into the drawers below, so it was definitely time for a good clean out! Half-an-hour later, thanks to a jay cloth and a fair few baby wipes, everything was sparkling. I’m sure I’ll be doing a little more cleaning as I get nearer home – I want Totallymoney.com looking her best for the homecoming at Gunwharf Quays.
It has gotten much, much colder over the last couple of days. I’m now all nice and snug in my cold weather fleeces. I may even put the heater on soon seeing as I’ve got quite a bit of spare fuel to burn! I’d been walking around barefoot since leaving Panama, so it feels a little weird (but in a nice way) wearing socks and boots now.
I have to tog up in all my oiles every time I want to go on deck due to the spray flying everywhere. I’m finding myself spending a lot more time inside the cabin now, rather than out in the cockpit on the beanbag.
It’s a little weird now thinking that I’ll be off the coast of Britain in around a week-and-a -half and I’m finding myself counting down the days now. But as always, its not over until it’s over and I’m being extra vigilant. I think my dad is even more tense now than ever!
Fast, then slow, then fast, then once again slow is how it’s been recently! I had a good night but then this morning the wind completely died and Totallymoney.com was down to 1knot. This afternoon the wind picked up to 22knots and Totallymoney.com sped along under genneker, but this evening and tonight the wind dropped to almost nothing once again!
A bubble of high pressure is going to be passing directly overhead very early in the morning which is going to spin the wind round all the way from north to east to south to south west within twelve hours. Although this is going to slow me up considerably for the next 24hours, a small low pressure is currently trucking it’s way over Newfoundland and this should give me some great running conditions by Wednesday. Once this has passed on it looks as if I might be able to hook into one of the big bad boy low’s trucking it’s way across the North Atlantic to the north of us. I’m looking forward to some more vroom-vroom moments!
Today certainly wasn’t dull because I was finally joined by dolphins, whales and yet more dolphins. I was standing up by the mast this afternoon checking a few things and also snapping some photographs when all of a sudden I heard a great splash. I looked over the side, underneath the genneker and saw white froth in the water. ‘What on earth is that?’ I thought. But then I saw a great long line of dolphins all jumping up in the air. There were over fifty of them and it was quite an amazing sight!
They broke up into three separate groups. One group left, one stayed off the bow and one played around about 50m away. They didn’t hang around though and within a minute or so had left me alone once again. Still, plenty of time to get a few photos.
I was feeling really great to have seen some dolphins at long last as I’ve missed them on this leg up the Atlantic. Then, as I was coming out from the hatch, I glance across the water and spotted six pilot whales just next to me, having a good look at Totallymoney.com.
I dashed for the camera, which I had put away, and after taking a moment to pose for me, they quickly left. I’ve never seen a group of pilot whales up close and they looked quite tiny for a whale – around fifteen feet long I reckon. After the whales vanished, the wind had picked up again and Totallymoney.com was surfing along with the Genneker up pulling her along nicely.
I was sitting on the bean bag as usual and all of a sudden, whoooosh, two dolphins jumped up right next to Totallymoney.com by the stern, only about a metre away. They looked really, really impressive, spray flying everywhere. These guys hung just around for a couple of minutes before disappearing again. I guess the sea life around here is used to seeing a lot of yachts!