Read the latest diary entry from Pip Hare as she campaigns to compete in this year's Mini-Transat

Click here to read Pip’s previous diary entry.

Friday 18 February 2011

This seems to be the question I am asking over and over this month.


I arrived in La Grande Motte at the beginning of December for a winter of training, with all the time in the world to get myself and my boat ready for the season ahead and 10 clear months to prepare for the transat.

It is mid February and a sense of urgency which has been slowly creeping up on me over the last few weeks, now has me firmly in it’s grip and I am struggling to work out where the last couple of months have gone. So what’s the panic?

It’s mostly about the boat’s equipment, which I need to purchase, install and have serviced before I can race, dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s so no race committee can refuse me an entry.

Each of the mini races is categorised, A,B,C or D depending on the length of the race and the distance the boats must sail from the shore; the A event being the transat itself and a D event being a one day coastal race.

As I intend to race in all the categories I am kitting the boat out now for the season with all the safety kit required, this ranges from first aid kits, survival suits, EPIRBS and signalling mirrors to a sextant and charts for the areas I will be racing in.

The mini rules are strict and there are inspections at every event. There is no getting away with not being prepared.

So that leads me on to Money – where does it all go!?

Enough said really – all of this kit has a value and my credit cards are straining with the effort this month, it is shocking for me, a careful budgeter and saver all my life. I am used to investigating all options before making a purchase, however at the moment there is only one way to get the kit I need; spend, spend, spend.

Luckily for me I have had a great deal of support from within the marine industry, the mini as a class is an ideal test ground for offshore equipment, it is wet, it is small and there is no room for superfluous items, everything onboard is relied upon to perform in the toughest conditions. Many marine companies are keen to showcase their equipment in this environment, and I am more than happy to offer this opportunity.

Joining my other trade partners this week is Viking, who will be supplying me with a liferaft for the season, packed small enough to squeeze through the tiny hatch on the back of my boat, and which I must prove to the race committee that I can launch for either inside or outside the boat in just 15 seconds.

Another piece of kit I will need to have confidence in but hope I will never have to rely on. Thank you Viking!

So we move onto the final where does it all go?

I had trouble enough fitting all my safety kit onto ‘The Shed’ the Oyster lightwave 395 I raced in the OSTAR and the Two Handed Round Britain and Ireland race, but ‘The Potting Shed’ is 18 ft smaller and there seems to be more kit.  

I am left head scratching wondering if there will be any room left for me to hide inside from big waves and cold nights to grab the odd 15 minutes of sleep.

More of a ‘where will it all go?’ really.