After dismasting on February 10th, Foresight Natural Energy is finally underway to les Sables d'Olonne. The kiwi skipper had to be very patient and determined to put up a jury rig but it is now complete.
The weather will be a key player in Conrad's progress, the ideal being to sail in medium conditions, downwind (more than 90° from the wind).
Here is what has happened in the last 5 days ...
Step1: after talking with his small technical team and experienced friends, solutions were found to repair the boom. Conrad had to wait for favorable conditions to start the work as there were 7 to 9m swells and the boat is really unstable without a mast. On Sunday afternoon, he started working on the repairs and finished on Monday to consolidate the damaged future "mast".
Step 2: the boom ready, the next project was to prepare the rigging. The cables and ropes that were going to hold the boom up needed to be measured, adapted, spliced and it took most of that day and night.
Step 3: the sail! It is nice to have a new "mast" but even better to have a sail to go on it. As Conrad managed to save the bottom part of the mainsail he had material to build a new sail and adapt it to the boom. Again measuring, cutting, stitching and remembering the good old times when he worked in a loft on the isle of Wight! That took most of Tuesday.
Step 4: All the elements being ready, it was time to try to put up the new rig and hope for the best. Conrad propped the boom on more sail bags, then on his shoulders while pushing the bags closer to the base to lift it. The repair held and the boom was up with a sail on it! He now still has to put up and attach the storm jib but the boat is moving again.
His goal now will be to position himself to get downwind conditions, the only way for him to progress with a jury rig. He has a little bit of food left and he will ration it until the end. He also has emergency rations that he will probably have to use before the end. We need to hope for fair winds pushing him towards the finish!
You can read more about tactical choices for the weather in this article
by the race organization and partner Great Circle.