Many competitors have different approaches in the lead up to the GGR. Some competitors are busy refitting, some are busy sailing and some plan to leave the refit to the last winter before the race. I have a different approach and I am going to lay it down below.
For some of my followers who haven’t seen my social updates (because there are so many), Good Hope arrived in Toronto on the 3rd of October from New Jersey. I was there the weekend before that to pack her up and was joined by Todd and Juddith and then the mast was stepped by Morgan Marina who did a good job of packing up the spars for transport. Here is a short message from Todd and Juddith:
My approach is unique to me and is determined by the circumstances I find myself in.
Let’s talk about them before we get to other topics:
1. Full Time day job– I was recently promoted to a senior position at my workplace, which takes quite a bit of my week but also is promising as that reduces my dependence on sponsors for the getting to the start line- So I need to keep working through the preparations for the race. With more than 20,000 Miles experience that I already have, all in varying ocean conditions, I believe that the extra miles I add will only strengthen my preparation. I have seen southern ocean waves before and north pacific too.
2. Canadian Winter– There will be 3 winters before the race start in 2022, that means 3 winters where the boat will be on the hard, but that also means that working on the boat will be difficult. Epoxy work cannot happen in the winter if the boat is outdoor. But a lot more can be accomplished if planned properly.
3. The Boat– The boat itself is in good shape which gives me a lot of flexibility to time the refit, but the deck has had teak on it for 40 years, the core has not been tested and rotten core is a known defect in Ta Shing boats. To add to that, I want to make additions to the boat which will require time and testing for e.g. the main access hatch like the one Robin Davie has on his boat, a hard dodger etc. And last, I don’t want to tire myself out and the boat before the race.
4. Finances- If do opt for being a Corinthian entrant, I will have to make sure I work up till a few months prior to the race so that I am not worried about finances during and after the race. Financial independence during the race means a lot- if you look back to 1968 GGR – Donald Crowhurst continued in a race he knew he wasn’t prepared for due to sponsor commitments. The same could be said about many competitors in this race. I will be very choosy about which sponsors come onboard as I want to avoid conflicts and over promises.
Also, I need to tell the world that I am an Indian, I must pay back to my parents for the great life they have given me, I cannot just get up and go sailing. Their welfare in their retirement is also my concern.
5. Ocean Globe Race- It is no secret that I want to do the Ocean Globe Race. I want to enter a Indian-Canadian team in the race and preparing for two races takes a lot of time, emotion and hard work. If I am to complete my preparations for GGR in advance, that gives me time to concentrate on the OGR. We already have a boat in mind and a team is coming together. I have no intention of living with FOMO as others race around the world. I’ve had enough of that till date.
Jean Luc Van Dan Heede
If you look at Jean Luc’s approach to the 2018 race: Acquired Matmut in August 2015 and sailed the winter, then put her into reconstruction in 2016 with a September 2016 launch. Then it gave him almost two years to fine tune everything and practice. This approach won’t work for me for several reasons. Financially, I cannot get into a complete refit in one go. I don’t have the luxury of winter sailing in Lake Ontario and I have a day job which I must deal with.
He went off rowing across the Atlantic before the race and then came back for the refit, because of which he almost didn’t make it to the start line. This was a unique approach but again, Mark has a circumnavigation in his resume, and he has the luxury to wait till the last moment. I am guessing that the row across the Atlantic also gave him enough of a publicity and sponsor build up before the race. This approach is an interesting one. The children’s author David Carruther’s did mention that he wants to cycle across Canada to raise money for charity. But this also assumes that I will have a sponsor who can pump enough funds at the end for a professional refit at an expensive yard to get things done faster.
At this point I don’t want to get into other names. Calling out the top two from the last race is enough. Some of my 2022 competitors are in different stages. Some are completing their refits. Some are rollovers from 2018 so their boats are ready. Some have bought boats from 2018 competitors, so they have very less to prepare. Some are sailing almost everyday and some are making plans.
As simple as it gets here are my milestones to the start of the race. Nothing very fancy. It’s the KISS (Keep It Sweet and Simple) approach and not overcomplicating matters:
Add/Service Equipment and Training
Lake Ontario Offshore Racing Series (LOOR)
Test Boat Sarnia – Duluth – Sarnia Solo 1200 Nautical Miles
Launch Boat with Sponsor signage and name
Sail (LOOR) singlehanded
Transatlantic Passage: Halifax, NS – Portsmouth, UK 2600 NM
Golden Globe Race Start
I have decided that I am not going to get into some bigger races as prep for the race. The weather systems we will find are going to be unique and unless I do a circumnavigation before race, it will be very difficult for me to experiences those anyway. With time and financial constraints determining how much time I can spend on the water, I am sure that Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, Lake Superior and the Atlantic help me gain enough experience to be ready for the race along with a strong boat. I will be preparing physically and mentally too.
· I was lucky to have found Good Hope in time for my September deadline for purchasing the boat. I had two options, one was a Cape Dory in Toronto which could have been very nice too.
· My first winter refit includes
1. Sandblasting the bottom
2. Replacing teak decks with anti-skid
3. Adding Tiller steering
4. New Engine
5. Create forward collision bulkhead
6. If possible (replace sea cocks & skin fittings- If you want to gift them to the boat, please reach out, they aren’t expensive)
· Lake Ontario Offshore Racing Series of 6 races has a single-handed component to it and they announced the dates for 2020 just now and you can check them out on this link
· As most of you know I work at 3M with their HQ in St. Paul Minnesota. Therefore, I am planning the sail to Duluth across the Superior. Its cold up there, and it will be a great way to make it to meetings later in the year
· Full Refit 2020-21: The plan is to change whatever it left at that point
1. Hard Dodger
2. Additional watertight compartments
3. Whatever new I find out I need on the boat
· Summer 2021– Repeat all the sailing above
· Winter 2021/22– Changes as necessary and final paint job
· Summer 2022– Sail across the pond to the start.
During this entire period I will be concentrating on mental and physical preparation for the race. Let me assure you that I will be the most physically fit person going into the 2022 race.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Taking the teak off has my brain hurting already. But with meticulous planning all will be achieved. I have not tried to aim for much further than needed. In all of this I have enough room to change things around a bit.
Mainly, being in Toronto most of the while allows me to help sponsors achieve greater visibility and return on investment before the race even begins.
This was a long blog post and it cannot even accommodate all the ideas for the boat I wake up with every morning. I will be more regular now that work on the boat has begun. So, I am off again today for some teak removal.
And since you made it so far, here is a picture of Halo
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