Start of the hot lap

Paul Larsen reports from on board the catamaran Raw Nerve

Wednesday July 17th 2002, Author: Paul Larsen, Location: United Kingdom
Well today is the big day and as per usual we still have heaps to do. I have that uneasy feeling that we have missed something. Because we aren't allowed to stop on the way around Australia, obviously we have to be very self sufficient.

Yesterday we got all the crap off the boat which amounted to a pretty big pile. Today, we will put our personal gear on and maybe a few little bits and bobs.... you know,.... just in case. The fuel situation is an interesting one as we don't have a dedicated battery charging system and therefore we aren't exactly sure what our consumption rate is. Oh well, there's always a handheld GPS and a chart to fall back on.

There is so much detail work that would have been nice to do but the time has run out. Clouds, [Roger Badham] our weather router has set us up for a pretty nice run across Bass Strait. If we make good time then we should meet up with some good weather further up the coast.

Although the official record is 43 days set by Kanga Birtles on 'Magna Data', we are aiming for the combined race time of Steinlager 1 which is around 34 days. This was set by Peter Blake in 1988 on the big red trimaran in the bi-centennial race. I think that it's a fair target provided we don't have any bad hold ups.

Apart from Peter Dorian aka 'Spike' who just finished the Volvo round the world race, I don't think that any of the other guys have spent more than a couple of days offshore ever so it will be interesting to see how they all fair. The sail over is also the longest continuous sail that the boat has ever done and that was only 38 hours!

The rig is brand new as is a lot of gear which makes me a little nervous. At 6,500 miles, it is a long way. It will be nice to be heading north into the warmer climates. Hopefully the weather will be good for most of the trip.

Shit, there is so much to do in the brief few hours before we set off. So much detail work with banks and airline tickets and contacts and cameras and electricians and fuel and packing and,......and man it's nice when you just throw the lines and hit the sea and that's it. Worry about it when you get back.

We aim to cross the line at 2 p.m. our time which will be around 5 a.m. back in England.

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