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Mini Transat - Diane Reid- Island life

by Diane Reid on 2 Dec 2013
One Girls Ocean Challenge Jacques Vapillon / Mini Transat http://www.minitransat.fr
Mini Transat 2013 - Canadian Diane Reid provides an update on island life:

It’s been a pretty busy week in Lanzarote. Diane found herself in interesting company. Six other mini racers dropped out of the race there. You know, the kind of people who think racing across an ocean in a 21 foot boat seems like fun. They’re all facing the similar problems: cell phones, computer and other gear have all been sent on to Guadeloupe and The Big One: how to get their minis back home.


It’s Tim again – pulling together some of Diane’s eMails and texts from the past couple of days. The foyer & computer are doing well, but pictures… not so much. Or at least, the connections haven’t supported sending them. Trust they’ll arrive with Diane this week.

Although the minis are designed, and the fleet has grown with and for this particular single handed race across the Atlantic, the boats are simply not suited for such undertakings without being part of a fleet, along with accompanying support vessels. 'Richard Hewson, myself and the other mini sailors here are working on a bit of a plan. There are six of us in total who are needing to move our boats off of this rock.

'Looks like we can have the boats ready for shipping by the end of the week. I am graciously being housed by Rich at the moment. Basically we’ve ended up with almost free accommodations for five nights (20 euros a night). If I can have the boat in a container and ready to go by the end of the week that would be ideal and I can fly home. I believe we check out of here on Friday, but I will double check. At that point sleeping on the boat is not an option as it will be in a container, so I may have to find a place to stay for a night or two pending flights etc.

'Just for a little scale on fees here for yard stuff, when we ordered the travel crane to come in to lift the boats out of the water and lift off of the keels, the yard was very cautious because of the very expensive crane times at 35 euros an hour. I didn’t want to tell them what our crane costs were back home!' Other than crane time, Lanzarote has proven a pretty expensive place – most everything has to be imported. This comes on top of the heavy weather budgetary damage from a month of delay on the Bay of Biscay.

Diane did plan for many eventualities on this program, but seems to have overlooked one set of personal gear: 'Did I mention that I am welding tomorrow? Had to buy boots, pants and a shirt for welding. I finally get to an island where it’s warm and sunny and I need to layer up! hahahaha' Glad Diane isn’t welding in her foulies – no idea their fire retardant properties – most manufactures are moot on that point and I’m not in the least bit optimistic.

Steel had to be purchased, but after being victorious in a bamboozling that would make Tom Sawyer proud, Diane was able to use the welding equipment. Diane continues: 'I´ve stolen a computer from the Port office. These guys are way too kind!
'The cradles are essentially built. Rich and I are working on this together with his and my boat. We will fit the boats with the forklift tomorrow [Thursday], place the splashes in place and then finish the welding.

'I was welding on my knees from 0900 to 2000… It was a very long day. Tomorrow I will speak to Melanie in the port office to get the container on site. She said it would be easy to do.

'The boat is in it’s cradle! I tell ya, just the story alone of building and welding and fiberglassing cradles on a sea wall in the Canaries, with limited resources and the kindness of the shipyard to loan us tools is an amazing story on it’s own. The french boys here have been a bit in awe. Particularly when we loaded the boats today into the cradles and they actually somewhat fit… we got the respectful nod of achievement from the French boys. They have opted to pay someone to go to France and bring their shipping cradles, and then pay another company to ship their boats back. It’s going to cost them at least 10k euros for the shipping and then another 2 or 3 k for yard fees for crane time etc.

'The container has arrived. The boat is loaded in the cradle and ready to load into the container. The mast has stripped and washed down. This afternoon I will strap the mast up inside the container for shipping. The port is closed today [Sunday] so no fork lift to load the boat.

The mini sailors aren’t the only people dealing with gear failure in the Canaries: 'The travel lift is broken.' As Diane’s out of the water, it wouldn’t seem to be a big issue for her, save: 'The forklift is stuck behind the travel lift, with an RC 44 keel on it. Rumour is that the travel lift won’t be fixed until Monday night. With that in mind, I have asked Wes (owns one of the shipyards here) if he would load my boat once the forklift can be accessed.

'It’s just such a tricky load that I would rather be here for it, but having said that, I really don’t want to change my flight for something that the yard should be able to do.

'Wes has agreed. He’s a super guy. There will be a fee of course, but it makes sense. Plus, if for any reason my cradle and boat won’t fit, he’s more than capable of pulling the boat off, rejigging the cradle and putting the puzzle back together again. Let’s cross our fingers that everything fits! We have worked very, very hard to try to keep the boats within their shipping tolerances. The problem is that the tolerances are about 2cm. Not much to spare. I’ve also told Wes about the crazy no wood etc. requirements so that the shipment won’t get rejected. He´s familiar with the rules.

I have no idea what stories will transpire in Diane getting off the island and on to a flight home. Will she follow in the foot steps of The Castaways and Tom Hanks? Shore crew is standing by for arrivals logistics on Tuesday. Tim here: and I’m getting ready to blog-off on the assumption Diane returns according to plan. It’s been a lot of fun, waaaay more educational than I imagined and I have enjoyed the many great reader comments.

Even without Diane, the Mini Transat race has continued. This evening, on the 19th day of racing, a well fought victory will arrive in Guadeloupe. It is very exciting. There is a How To Track Arrivals page as well, Fleet Tracking will be updated more frequently while boats are finishing. It is one heck of a race!

And today’s last words are from Diane: 'Finally, thanks everyone for the massive work on ‘let’s get the girl home’. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!'
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