November 13, 2006 GMT
Beltsander Racing

Unconditional Love' (aka 'Aransas') is a 37-foot ocean-going racing trimaran designed by Ian Farrier (

In the last ten days I've learned an enormous amount about boats, and especially how they need to be prepared and how things should be done. I've previously sailed nothing bigger than a National 16, but just sailing a little way on one of these is fantastic. I've watched those sailing programmes on the telly (Ellen McArthur should be knighted) but to do little stuff when shouted at appropriately AND IT WORKS (like winchy things with the mainsail halyard, although not awfully well) is really, really satisfying. I've done a lot of electrical stuff , drilled holes (refused to do that to the hull because I don't want it to be my fault), screwed stuff on, sorted out wiring for the compass light, bilges, and navigation hardware (with help from Dave who has a brain the size of a planet but is in Thailand at present), and generally tried to earn my keep.

This is not a gin-palace (the shower still doesn't work awfully well, but we're getting a new pump tomorrow, and we have a loo now), but roomier than it looks, and pretty comfortable really. I mean, I'm sitting in the saloon at 9pm,writing this on my laptop while connected to the rest of the world via wifi (dunno where from but it's there) with a bottle of a rather nice Chilean Carmenere in front of me, with
Saint-Saens VERY LOUD on the stereo.

Stuart has tried to persuade me to sail to St.Lucia (or it may be Venezuela, he probably doesn't know either) on her with him (there's a safe place for the bike here in Port Aransas) but that would be a bit complicated as I only have one page left in my passport - the one I got in Santiago after the robbery - and need a new one before I go anywhere with big entry/exit stamps. Anyway, we'd probably kill each other before we got there.

So, with a bit of luck my new magic hole card will arrive tomorrow (thanks, Pauline), then all I have to do is make sure the strained muscle in my left arm is up to it (no idea what I did to it, but there you are), and I can head for New Mexico and Area 51 and all that stuff.

Ah, the beltsander racing. Totally bonkers. Great fun. Try

Posted by Cynthia Milton at November 13, 2006 04:23 AM GMT

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