High 5's, Low 5's - Days 50-54

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The past 5 days have been a roller coaster of highs and lows for Michelle Lee. Tony (her onshore guru) has huge admiration for her strength, tenacity, and ability to rise above very testing situations to just keep on rowing. With favorable easterly winds, waves turning NE to East, expectations were naturally looking for a fast finish until a few unscheduled calls…..

Michelle first call was to report the top pintle, held on by two nuts and bolts, was fractionally loose. The middle one, however, was much looser. Note: the rudder steers the boat to keep it on course and is held on by two pintles with a third pin fitting on the bottom of the keel.

After a lengthy discussion, she was able to tighten both back up. So ‘High 5’ for our Michelle as it was now thought the problem was solved! She rowed onwards…..

Then on Day 52 another unscheduled call. This time her foot steering plate, which has a red shoe clip to hold her shoe in place. It had lost two nuts! This too could become a major problem, however after a lot of surmising it was decided to epoxy the red plastic clip back down. So far this solution has held. Another ‘High 5’ for our wonder woman.

Day 53 and yet again another unscheduled call. This time the second pintle holding the rudder has actually cracked. Potentially a disastrous situation! After much research by Tony it was concluded there was not much that could be done. Michelle would have to rely on the remaining top pintle and the bottom pin fitting to get her home…..

These two remaining pieces need to take all the pressure from the rudder. Tony consulted with an engineer friend and a few ‘good yachties’ and it was concluded that they believe it will hold. Fingers crossed!

As you could well imagine, these issues are taking their toll on Michelle’s nerves! Tony reminded her ‘she wanted this bloody challenge and there’s no way she’s not going to finish’ so ‘quit the negative mind games and keep rowing your heart out’. ‘Ring me in an hour and tell me you have a fresh approach!’

Tony’s nerves were also reinvigorated when Michelle rang back a few hours later to say she had a ‘new head on her shoulders’. With a new positive approach - ‘if it breaks we’ll worry about it then and not before’.

Michelle is now, at current speeds, less than 2 weeks from the finish. Take a look at her numbers. Everyone should give this girl high 5’s - she’s a winner!

Courtesy of Tony Roberts (Designated Person Ashore)