10 day's to race day - La Gomera

Our fourth day on the island started a little later than normal. After two days of tedious food and snack bag provision packing we decided to kick the day off at 9 am. 

We started by trying to find a boat shop to buy nessesary retrieval lines and landyards (small segments of rope that hold vital parts together on deck should the elements come into play) for the boat so that we can pass scrutinering scheduled for 11am Fri morning. Upon finding the shop we found all rope had been bought and the shelves stocked from top to bottom with harpoon guns.

We made our way to the boat and started to unpack and lay out all items on the dock to make sure we have everything and just as importantly - to work out where it was all going to go! It is becoming quickly apparent that we have more than we can fit in the boat.

Bobby made his daily visit to the race office to go over nessesary meeting times and finalise the quotes on the boat and where they will be placed. Henry, James and Fergus, with more freedom to move about on deck, now that the bulk of food etc had been stowed away, revelled in trying out our three different seat options for the boat. After a quick lunch which normally consists of meatballs on chips the team bought, organised and planned the ballast water and where it will go. This is of vital importance as it is the main weight of the boat and should she get pulled about in a storm the ballast will help keep her straight and steady against the waves and also self right should tiny dancer get capsized in a storm.

We had to tape the tops of the 133 - 1.5 litre bottles with masking tape so that the race officer named Ian Couch (previously military!) could sign each one  at the sealing point. The reason for this is that all teams have to take a min requirement of 200 litres of water for ballast that must never get opened. Unless real emergency when both automatic and manual water makers break and the crew need urgent supply. Even then we are allowed only 50 litres and anything over will constitute in time penalties! Ian however was very impressed with our plan on how to store the water and upon him asking if we were In it to race and win or cross and accomplish (two very different objectives when planning weight of boat etc) the huge feat facing us we all found ourselves in the same unified mutterings of - we want to win but with relative comfort.

All teams were given a briefing on how the power anchor worked. This is deployed in times of rough seas and squalls so that you are straight on with the waves and also stops you from going backwards. It is basically a small parachute that gets fed out of the front of the boat on fwo rope lines up to 80 metres.

As the sun starts going to bed we packed the water into the boat and decided to finish for the day. The captain of the next door boat boat - row to recovery called us over in a hushed voice and showed us his prize possession - a water ballon catapult that reaches 100 metres. We then preceded to bombard the boats and crew at the other end of the mariner with cheers from the boats in the middle.  A welcome distraction and end to yet another busy day.

We joined all crews in the local hangout run by a crazy gomerian named manolo, picked from the standard menu of pizza and pastas and finished the evening.

At the end of day four we as a team are much more relaxed in the knowledge of how certain procedures are performed at sea and our next weeks plan and schedual. Hoping we pass scrutineering tomorrow, we can get the boat in the water for Saturday and do our 24 row at sea on Sunday.