The Rules of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race—the first ever solo circumnavigation race—were quite simple for both the sailors and organizers. But the 50th Anniversary Race next year is a heavily loaded obstacle course for all parties involved.
In order to replicate the original race, the race management wants to preserve its main features, but to do so while also ensuring the safety of the participants. And we, the competitors, have had to turn the clock back 50 years in the preparation of our boats, avoiding the use of forbidden items and anachronistic technology. We have had to buy old boats and deal with unique boat restoration projects that have often led to a more time- and money-consuming process than building a new boat.
It is no wonder that half a dozen provisional entrants have already dropped out, making some “standby” sailors on the waiting list very happy. Well, I am socially considerate and care about my prospective fellow competitors, but not enough that I’m keen on giving up my spot for them! So I will keep pushing forward with my Puffin project, in spite of the constant headwind.
March transformed into a real winter month on Long Island this year. I scheduled my work accordingly, keeping most of it indoors. My basement has become a carpentry shop, and the scene of a real restoration project. I decided to save the 30-year-old teak in Puffin’s cockpit area, taking it apart piece by piece and rebuilding it. In spite of the professional help of one of my friends, Capt. Pete, this has become a very lengthy and expensive project. But this work was extended with a new feature creating a proper storage space for the propane tanks. The original one was in the aft lazarette without adequate ventilation, and I moved it to the front section of the cockpit (in front of the binnacle), reducing the size of the cockpit’s potential flooding area at the same time.
Thanks to Pete’s help, I was able to deal with other priorities simultaneously. Puffin’s prep has reached the phase where the number of moving parts has increased significantly. I hit the road and drove 3,000 miles within 2 weeks. I picked up my custom-made handrails, and dropped off the pattern of my new orders for granny bars around the mast and dodger with my buddy Gary Bass in Loxahatchee, Florida. I picked up my custom-made chainplate cables from Nance-Underwood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I visited Selden’s U.S. factory in Charleston, South Carolina, to discuss the details of the new spars. I dropped the original deck chainplates as samples for new replacements at the Rigging Company in Annapolis, Maryland. And I gave a presentation about the 2018 GGR in Toronto for the local Hungarian community.
This is not even a complete list, of course, but hopefully it illustrates the range of my day-to-day life.
The GGR race clock still shows 435 days to the start, but I am already racing at full speed…