Our boat is called Maple Leaf, and informally Tracy. She was built for a North Atlantic crossing, where conditions are considerably rougher, so she was built to the highest safety standards. However she didn’t make that journey so we have inherited her new. She is 24 long and 6’ wide with a small cabin at either end. We sleep, eat and survive in one (it is very cosy with both of us in it!), and store our equipment in the other. There are two rowing seats but most of the time only one of us will be rowing while the other rests in the cabin.
Her equipment list includes:-
- carbon fibre reinforced with kevlar body;
- lewmar ocean standard hatches;
- carbon fibre fittings to make the boat as light as possible such as the casette rudder and dagger-board;
- the boat has a safety bar either side which no other boats in the race possess, this will be very useful to grab onto to prevent being tossed out of the boat, and also great to attach our safety harness lines to;
- the boat has 12 waterproof hatches in the hull (the red circular things) where our emergency water ballast, and all our food will be stored;
- we will eat our way backwards, so the boat gets lighter and surfs down waves better the further across the Atlantic we get;
- the water we will drink will come from a katadyn water maker, which can make up to thirty litres an hour;
- the power we obtain to use the water maker, operate our navigation systems and blast music will come from solar panels on top of the cabin, and from our efoy fuel cell in the forward cabin;
The efoy fuel cell is a great piece of kit we have been fortunate enough to borrow, we are the only team with this luxury. it essentially is another source of power that means we will not be worried about relying only on solar.
If you are interested about the scientifics please visit http://www.efoy-comfort.com/how-it-works
Also assisting us in the crossing is our Raymarine autopilot. This is essentially a motor attached to the strings that hold our cassette rudder in place, and automatically adjusts by pulling appropriate the string to stay on the chosen bearing so that we end up where we want to go!
All these systems are reliable in their own right, however the sea is not an ideal place to operate machinery, so constant maintenance will be needed such as:-
- replacing the ball bearings in the rollers on our rowing seats as they rust,
- scraping barnacles of the boat every two weeks to keep friction at a minimum and ensure maximum speed.
- knowing how to re wire the electrics should they break, or if we get struck by lightning!
- taking apart and putting together the water maker and autohelm.
If the electronic systems fail, then we will have to use the sun and stars and our charts to navigate, a skill we both learnt on a 10 day course to earn us Ocean Master Navigation!