Latest from Alex Alley on Pixel Boat – not long now

Watching the weather closely for the last few weeks have been so frustrating with storm after storm coming across the Atlantic. I get asked a lot why I haven’t gone yet as I will surely face bad weather en route so why not just get going. While I will surely face some stormy weather around the world, especially in the Southern Ocean, there is no point heading out in to such weather if you have a choice. Being a World Record attempt, I can choose when to leave and it makes sense to wait for the right weather window. There will be plenty of time to sail in big winds and big seas later in the trip. One of the most important things with a voyage like this one is to look after the boat. There have been four previous attempts on this record and all have failed – two through equipment failure, and two through injury. Rule number one is to look after myself and the boat. That is the reason Pixel Flyer is still sat in Haslar Marina. Very frustrating as everything is loaded on board  and ready. The weather in the Atlantic looks to be calming down over the coming week or so and we should be able to find an optimum weather window to leave. Latest thinking is sometime on or after the 21st, but we will let you know when we have a date for departure.

So for now I am making sure everything on the boat is absolutely ready and the extra time gives me a chance to double check everything. One of the jobs I will be doing is replacing the Main Halyard. Although there is nothing wrong with the existing one, English Braids have sent me a spare one with a new stronger outer jacket. It makes sense then to put this one in and have the other a a spare should anything happen to it. Changing the main halyard on most boats is a relatively simple job of mousing out the old one and pulling the new one back in to place. As with most things on Pixel Flyer, things are rarely that straight forward. The halyard is a 2:1 set up, which means that one end is fixed at the top of the mast with a ‘dog bone’ arrangement. The halyard is spliced onto a metal ‘dog bone’ which sits above a hole in the masthead crane as in the picture below. The halyard then runs down to the top of the mainsail which has a high load block on and the back up to the top of the mast, over the sheave and down inside the mast and then back to the clutches.