Week one and launching the Mini

It has been a busy week at the Artemis Offshore Academy. The first couple of days involved a lot of admin, before we went on to a number of more practical sessions on social media, routing and a SRC (VHF) course and test, as well as receiving all of our nice shiny new and warm Musto kit.

In and around our scheduled programme the Mini has had some attention and a few things knocked off the boat list. Most importantly, a deck reinforcement patch has been put in place where the kicker attaches to the coach roof behind the mast, as a number of stress cracks had surfaced. With the British weather being as it is, I had to build a tent around the area to try and keep it dry whilst the process took place.

Friday we took a trip to Marlow Ropes HQ in Hailsham for a day of rope work. The Marlow Sales Director Paul Honess explained the pros and cons of each of their ropes available. We then had a more practical session, learning two different types of whip and splice and after a tour of the factory we load tested our splices.

First we test loaded 12mm polyester, a spliced end snapped at around 4.25 tonnes, compared to a bowline at 2.42 tonnes. I think I might be splicing everything left right and centre now with my newly learnt skill. For comparison we then compared the load capacity for a tapered splice and a non-tapered splice in 12mm dyneema. Interestingly the non-tapered went at just under 9 tonnes, where the tapered held to 10.15 tonnes. Next up were our splices to see how they withheld the strain; with a splice in each end we went up against each other. Teamed up with Alex we took the victory, my splice exploding at 10.49 tonnes.

The weekend saw more boat work as well as a psychology session with Ian Brown, discussing stressors that are involved with solo offshore racing and deciphering what can be controlled, which are uncontrollable and the various coping strategies.

Launch Day
Final preparations were made Monday morning for the launch of the Mini, a quick service of the outboard, finding and measuring up the strops and preparing to be craned in. Unfortunately the company that own and operate all the yard machinery has recently gone into administration and getting launched took a lot longer than planned.

With the Mini now in the water, we’re ready to get the sails up this Thursday for the first time! But before that I have to survive a day of fitness with Paul Wallis in Chichester and a Sea survival course on Wednesday.