Greetings from sunny and rather warm Funchal. It is somewhat hard to believe I have already been here four days and the leg two start is just over a week away. Fortunately, my work list is getting shorter every day and the big items are already checked off. The two biggest are the small bit of damage to my jib which I have repaired and the non-functional fuekl cell. For both I am still waiting for parts which are to arrive on Monday, a new top batten for the jib and a complete replacement fuel cell. The replacement fuel cell is the same one I used as a service loaner earlier in the season and it worked flawlessly. My suspicion is that for 2009 the manufacturer has changed some items internally which are proving to be somewhat unreliable since the loaner is a 2008 unit and I have now had two 2009 units fail completely. I certainly hope they can sort out the issues since the technology is pretty cool.
The remaining items on the to-do list are things I want to take care of but would not keep me from sailing if they did not get done. All in all a nice feeling. It was similar in La Rochelle where I had a bit of a list but things were generally well in hand. Evidently this seemed outwardly obvious since another American who was there helping folks out never once asked if I needed any help and was instead borrowing things from me to help out others.
I do need to give a big bit of recognition to Sailing Anarchy (http://www.sailinganarchy.com/) for a number of reaons; they are helping out my program directly, they have been one of the greatest sources of news of the TransAt for north american readers and they helped get the word out to help Craig Horsfield who is racing as a South African but lives in the Seattle area. He likely hit a whale or shark off Portugal and tore out one of his rudder fittings along with opening up the hull/transom seam. He put in to Portugal for emergency repairs and made it here a couple of days ago. Repairs are now well underway.
I have snapped a few pics and will try to get them posted soon.