19 November

Mon 19 Nov 2007 09:02
28 07.6N
15 25.6W
(Las Palmas, Gran Canaria)
6 days to the start. Martin and I are on the boat gradually working through our to do list. Today is our shopping day. First thing is to order our water. At the moment we are planning for 14 days so will be adding another 160 litres to our stock of bottled water. The next item is cans of gas - we use the blow torch cans, not conventional boat gas cylinders. So far we have not identified a source here in Las Palmas. The worst case scenario is that we will have to eat cold food ie "straight out the bag" instead of "boil in the bag". Our final stop is at Corte Engles, probably the best department store in town which has a good grocery section. Their best feature, however, is that they deliver to the boat. We dont need much having put most of our provisions onto Minnie before we left Hamble.
Our good news is that we have managed to persuade some of the boats in the cruising division to take our regatta sails, which are just extra weight for us. Swagman has got 4 spinnakers and Sonoma has taken a main and 2 jibs - probably 150Kg altogether.
Our bad news is that our satcoms data connection is not functioning. Tim from Satcoms Group spent 6 hours on the boat yesterday trying to fix the problem. It appears that somehow our data calls are being routed through an unauthorised channel - the modem has the correct instructions and we dont know if the problem is a software bug in the modem, something in the satellite transmission or a fault at the earth receiving station. Fingers crossed. If the worst comes to the worst we will have to resort to using our iridium phone - slow, expensive and SO last year - which is what most of the other boats use.
The weather outlook is best described as interesting. You could say challenging. Yesterdays outlook was showing a tropical depression in the middle of the race. There was a similar weather feature two years ago and the boats that tried to go north were caught by it and really hammered. Fortunately, todays forecast is more straightforward and predicts that we will finish after 12 days 4 hours. I wish!