Many things just work. The pencil….. you may have to sharpen it occasionally but it’s a bloody brilliant thing and works superbly well. I like pencils. Okay it’s very simple object, like a single cell organism in comparison to the highly enhanced life form of the iridium sat phone.
Dave has devoted several hours over the past couple of days trying to get this allegedly straightforward yet technologically advanced bit of kit set up so it talks to the phone and iPad and will allow us to download weather files and weather routing data from a company called Predictwind. All stuff that Joshua Slocam or Robin Knox Johnson had no need to concern themselves with back in their day. Their technical gremlins were more straightforward I’d imagine. A compass doesn’t need a password, a log in, an app, a satellite fix or a 12 volt power socket.
When we’re at sea on passage and out of wifi and 3G range, the sat phone will provide us with a link to land and all you good people out there. Good news is the contract we have allows us to both receive and send text messages for free. Not long messages just 160 characters. But a simple and quick way to keep in touch. We have some inclusive voice minutes each month tied up in the contract so we will be able to chat if we need to. And we can receive calls too but the caller pays and it’s pricy. Emergency contact only really. In order to text us, you’ll need to know our sat phone number. I don’t really want to write it here but drop us an email or leave a message on this blog and we’ll get it to you.
The reason for the technology push is we plan to head off from Lagos tomorrow to the Canaries. It should be about 5 days at sea. The information that Predictwind provides is quite stunning. You click on your start and finish points on an electronic chart, a bit like google maps. Then enter your proposed departure time and the speed of your boat and hey presto, up come four different suggested routes based on four different weather models. We plan to sail somewhere in the middle of the four routes.
Grace is in pretty good shape. We rigged twin headsails today as we’re expecting lots of down wind sailing. Water tanks are full, food cupboards are stocked, batteries are charged, book shelves reinvigorated with new reading matter and charts have arrived. Need a good nights sleep now.