Yachtswoman Pip Hare prepares for the mini-Transat

Just back from a 24hr shake down sail; tired, sunburned and
totally satisfied.

All those brains, and hands and hours that have worked so
hard to make all those different components of this little boat come together,
did a good job.

The boat felt great, the sails looked great, the charging
system now a fuel cell and a solar panel worked spot on, all the electronics
are calibrated and working perfectly; the bottom of the boat is slippery, there
is no play in the rudders, all my running rigging is running smoothly through
blocks and jammers; my noisy alarm wakes me up. All is right with the world.

It was so gratifying to sail off into the night on a boat
that is so together.

Originally I had planned to go out with the two protos, but
instead of chasing them around I sailed my own course; gently pushing my boat
and myself and becoming reacquainted with the little things.

Now the majority of the boat work is done I know it is time
to turn to myself and start preparing for the 30 odd days of solitude that lie

I guess you forget what it is really like to be alone; how
often does it actually happen in our everyday lives; being out of touch, all
alone with no interruptions.

As I steered over the waves, remembering the comfortable
places to put my feet and arms, how the boat slams when you get it wrong, the
feel of the tiller in my hand; thoughts crowded into my head vying for airtime
now the cacophony of day to day life is left ashore. That’s the problem when
you are really alone, the rest of the world will not let your mind be.

And yes I acknowledged all these small worries, and
questions and outstanding niggles, but only long enough to banish them from my

My preparation is like a sort of meditation, I need to clear
my head of all other matters; my job is to sail, to think about my boat, to
think about the way ahead, the weather and the race.

This is my privilege, and it is time I got myself ready.

And so I sailed happily through the night and in the morning
watched another beautiful sunrise. I know it’s only light, and I’ve seen so
many before but they really are significant.