Salty Mines

Salty Mines

From Pacific NW rigger turned Minista Chris Tutmark:

Greetings to all the Anarchists from sunny (today) France! Specifically Locmiquelic, which is just across the inlet from Lorient.

Lorient is the base for both Groupama 3  and Banque Populaire V, and both boats are here after their sprint across the Atlantic. Seeing Groupama or Banque Pop alone is quite impressive but seeing them both is truly awesome with them tied up on either side of the same pontoon. The boats reflect a different philosophy, with G3 being a smaller and simpler boat while Banque Pop is massive and has more complex systems, specifically the ability to cant the rig while G3’s is fixed. This is a similar system to DOGzilla except the rams on Banque Pop are buried in the floats, probably a good thing as it keeps them a little more out of the weather on a boat that doesn’t return to the dock each night. Both boats have curved dagger boards in the floats with systems to adjust the angle of attack while sailing. The one item that G3 does have is an interceptor system on the stern of the floats. It a relatively simple, line driven, setup which extends or retracts the plate below the float at the stern. The day after I saw them both on Tuesday,  G3s rig was out and the boat had been moved, likely for either mods or a refit before a Fall Round the World attempt.  

As cool as both of these boats are, they are not my reason for being here. That reason is to get some final work done on my Mini before the TransAt which starts on September 13. Overall things are coming along very well, I have been going through pretty much all the deck hardware and systems on the boat both inside and outside the boat. A big item I checked off was a system to secure the water jugs inside the boat. For the earlier season races, I only had to deal with at most 40 liters but for leg two of the TransAt it will be 100 liters plus an additional 9 liters of safety water and then up to 25 liters of optional water of I want to take it. Any way you slice it, it is a lot of water and weight to deal with and having had a 20 liter bottle hit me during an early season race it is important that these items are secure. Also, a big deal is the matter of food, leg one should be 9-11 days and leg two in the 20 day range so there is a fair amount of food to deal with. Fortunately I have liked most of the freeze dried I have tried and only had to break out  the hot sauce a few times to mask the feeling that I was eating cardboard. Also am consuming a lot of powered drink mix as it’s an easy source of calories and helps take the plastic taste out of the water from the jugs.

I will be here for another week continuing to work on the boat and get some sailing in. After that the boat comes out of the water for the mandatory safety orange paint on the rudders, keel and a panel of the hull. Then the boat goes by road to La Rochelle where I will meet it on about the 2nd of September. All the competitors and boats are supposed to be in La Rochelle on the 4th with the race scheduled to start on Sunday the 13th.

Is still too early to have any idea what the weather will be like other than we’ll probably see some of almost everything. And it will probably be hot. Leg one goes from La Rochelle across the Bay of Biscay, around Finisterre and south to Funchal on Madeira. The second leg goes from Funchal through the NE Trades, Doldrums, and SE Trades to finish in Salvador, Brazil for a total of ~3400 miles.

While I haven’t been great is sending you updates, I have been regularly updating my blog ) and will work to keep SA up to date. Even here I am enjoying SA and all that it includes. Some of my favorite reads lately have been the AC thread and the continued efforts of some people to turn the FT 10 forum into a bile encrusted cesspool.

Good Times.

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