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BT Global Challenge - Where is Team Philips?

by Andy Hindley on 5 Oct 2000
Team Philips is preparing to leave Dart Marina, Dartmouth

The crew are carrying out the final preparations prior to leaving Dartmouth for sea trials.

They are currently loading the diesel for the two 75 horse power engines - there are 32 ten litre plastic drums. These are divided equally and stored in the two hulls.

Mike and Alex will stock up with fresh food which should last the crew for three days. This includes fruit, salads, milk, bacon & eggs and bread. They will start out every morning with one litre isotonic drink in special sports bottles which can be replenished during the day. The crew will become thirsty very quickly whilst sailing. Once the fresh food has run out, the crew will eat dried food to which they add cold water and simmer for 20 minutes to make a nourishing meal.

Paul is putting the headboards back on the sails and lashing everything down for the journey. All the crew are packing their kit into the bunk areas. The kit is kept to a minumum to avoid additional weight - they will take two sets of Musto thermal underwear, a mid layer and a two piece HPX Ocean suit. They will be wearing the new Ecco "ultimate sailing shoe" and take a full range of Musto socks including goretex socks. Each crew member has been issued with a chamois leather towel the size of a handkerchief which can easily be rung out. It is made from fibres which are 100th the size of an human hair.

Gifts are coming in from the public - cards, fudge cakes, St Christophers.

Team Philips is due to slip her lines soon after midday today (Thursday) and will head across the Bay of Biscay, slipping under the advancing high pressure system and into the trade winds.

The weather this morning is sunny and still with winds predicted to rise to around 20 knots by midday.

Crew diary - Andy Hindley - 1000 (BST) Thursday 5th October

Ask any pilot; flight simulators are all very well but nothing beats the real thing.

It's the same on Team Philips. Today is the day we step back into the driving seat once again. Things will change instantly, completely.

That explains the mounting sense of excitement as we prepare to leave Dartmouth. We woke before dawn, had a last fry up breakfast, and then got on with the job.

With a high pressure system threatening to swamp the area our first job was to make sure we caught the wind. The aim is to get across the Bay of Biscay and into the trade winds as soon as possible.

I'm just looking forward to getting back with the boys. People use buzz words like "team bonding" but that really just complicates a simple situation. We've got to get the best out of ourselves and the boat.

There will be alot of little tweeks to be done over the next few days but if the weather is as we expect there's going to be some amazing sailing. I can't wait to actually get out of the nav area for a while.

That's the area of the boat where Mike and I work. It's where this diary is being transmitted from. We've wedged in with an array of instruments before us.

I've played with electronics for the past six months. I've been through the network with a fine toothcomb.

The telemetry, which will supply data to the race viewer, is working. The GMDSS (Global Manual Distress Safety System) is safely installed. We checked the gyro compass yesterday morning and found it very acurate.

While we are in the Atlantic we'll experiment with a camera system. Most of the images we've managed to capture are of life on Team Philips while she is tied up. Now we are entering a different dimension.

It's time to put frustrations behind us. There's a greater sense of certainty in our lives. In a personal sense leaving makes things easier.

Recently I've been working from Monday to Friday in Devon and spending the weekends at home in London. In that situation your life is not really your own. My wife, Julie, now feels she can plan her life for when I'm away. When I'm commuting things aren't that simple.

What is simple is the task that awaits - finding out just what Team Philips can do.

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