All systems GO!

It’s been a long… long… haul. As an engineer, I’ve done some napkin math problems in my day, but this one has been a doozy. By my guess, Team Monkey Fist has put somewhere on the order of 700 primate-hours into refurbishing Wildfire and getting her ready for the wilds of the Inside Passage. We’ve lanced off all of the deck rot, replaced a ton of old hardware, rearranged things to suit our small crew, swapped out most of the running rigging, built an endurance electrical system from scratch, completely outfitted the boat with navigation equipment… and, oh yeah, designed and installed a working human propulsion system.

When you put it all down like that, well, it sort of sounds like we’ve been pretty efficient!

As Rob likes to repeat, many boats have crossed oceans without crew, but no crew has crossed an ocean without a boat. While the majority of our time has been spent making Wildfire rock-solid, we’ve also managed to get some sailing in during the overhaul. We even tried to race once, and although we got out onto the water too late to make the start line, we had a great evening working through some maneuvers under pressure and practicing reefing and sail changes in realistic conditions when the wind kicked up to 25 kts. We haven’t had as much time on the water as we would have liked, but we’re getting more comfortable with the boat and pushing its limits. Wildfire handles beautifully even when things get rough, and while we know that Olson 30s have some bad habits (especially in really big chop downwind), everything we’ve seen so far has been extremely positive.

Through it all, we’ve done our bests to keep each others’ spirits up. This team works really well together. Each of our skills adds to the team and we each bring something to cover a weakness somewhere else. We will definitely have some major challenges along the way, especially when it comes to managing our energy with only three crew. However, I think we’re as strong a team of three as we can be.

Rob and Dave are putting the finishing touches on a few projects this weekend. Most of our non-perishable provisions are already packed. I’ll be back in Seattle on May 27th for one final week of practice and fine-tuning before we leave for Port Townsend on June 2. We’re in the terminal countdown.

Ten… nine… eight…

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