Approaching Oahu

Diamond Head (2) 8.5

Adrian now faced a navigational challenge. He had never intended to sail close to Hawaii, much less attempted to dock, and had no charts for the waters. The damage to the mast could worsen at any time and he could not risk using the mailsail. Waikiki Yacht Club offered to meet Barrabas off Diamond Head Buoy and lead him in but that still meant 36 hours of helming to get to that position with no prospect of leep or respite. Adrian radioed the US Coast Guard and established an hourly call schedule to allow them to plot him in towards Diamond head. As his progress looked stable, the radio checks were reduced to two hourly intervals but USCG continued to track him right into the dock, finally calling him on his mobile phone to ensure that he had safely docked.

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Mast damage forces Adrian to stop in Hawaii

Barrabas

On May 4, Alpha Global Expedition suffered a potentially fatal blow to the record attempt. From the Equator, Adrian had faced fickle weather, lack of wind, and then far too much. In his approach to Hawaii he had encountered freak conditions that had damaged well found larger vessels in the area and caused some to sink. During these freak storms, the damage to Barrabas’ mast became visible. A lower spreader failed and Adrian could now see a torn section of mast where the spreader was attached. This was serious because he had no way of welding the stainless steel mast at sea. It was probable that the mast would have to be unstepped for repairs and that meant waiting for dockyard facilities which would almost certainly cost Adrian the narrow window of ice melt needed to enable him to squeeze between the Russian coast and the Arctic pack ice.

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Collecting the Supplies

DSCF2591

Sponsors DHL had offered to fly out the suplies to Honolulu and the first half of April saw Expedition Manager Louise in England desperately collecting the needed materials ready to pack, and take them to DHL for the last possible flight time. With Easter in the middle it was a hectic period. Items collected into a mountain in her living room. The final items being two laptop computers to replace the main and backup systems damaged rounding Cape Horn.

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2000 miles to Hawaii

Barrabas

By April 17, Barrabas was back in the Northern Hemisphere and 2000 miles from Hawaii. Adrian had decided to accept a supply drop, the decision aided by continuing difficulties in obtaining Russian permission to sail their Northern Sea Route whihc meant that he would also need charts for Canadian waters to provide the option of attempting the North West Passage past Alaska and Canada if the Russians refused permission. The Waikiki Yacht Club had offered to send out a motor yacht and 25 ft RIB to meet Barrabas off Hawaii to transfer charts, spares and supplies. Weather conditions were good and the forecasts encouraging.

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The Fastest Month

Barrabas

Having rounded Cape Horn, Adrian faced a long haul North up the Pacific towards tbe Bering Straits and the Arctic. March became the fastest month but Adrian was wrestling with a very tough decision as he headed towards the Equator and the hoped for fair weather. During the double knock down at the Cape, Barrabas had suffered damage and so had Adrian. He had dislocated both wrists which meant that mast climbing in tough conditions was out of the question. He feared that the mast and rigging had suffered damage but could see nothing wrong from deck level. In addition to the suspected mast damage, equipment had been hurled about and water had entered the vessel, damaging clothes, bedding and some food. Adrian was trying to decide whether or not to accept a supply drop on his way North. He did need some spares to repair his heater and other items of damaged equipment but he could not yet see what damage had been done to the mast. If he accepted a supply drop, this would remove his unaided status in the record bid. If he called into a port, perhaps in Chile, he would lose the non-stop status. Tough decisions.

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