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Haji - SV Haji: Q&A with the crew

Running low on ideas for blog posts, we enlisted the help of family and friends by prompting them to ask us questions which we recieved on our Iridium Sat phone. We then sat down as a crew to answer them. 

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced in planning the trip?
A. It has been a journey long in the making. Although we faced challenges, none stood out paricularly. We had a lot of things to do and worked our way through them.

Q. Was there anything you would do differently so far?
A. Not accidentally buy two bottles of sherry, mistaking them for wine!
We would have most likely reevaluated our stops; spent a little less time in Las Palmas before the start of the ARC, for example.

Q. What do you each miss most?
A. The Bosun, naturally, misses his wife - Gerry - more than anything. The Skipper says the Bosun stole his answer. "What, you miss Gerry too!?" We get the gist.
Devin and Amy agreed on the access to a flushing toilet, and 'unlimited' running water. As people who tend to stay hydrated, it is quite hard when your water supply is limited! Dev misses keeping up to date with his sports.
We then added coffee (we have press, miss espresso), fresh bread (our oven no longer holds heat well enough to bake), and oddly - yoghurt (Amy). 

Q. What do you each find most difficult?
A. For Dave and Amy, getting to sleep can be the biggest challenge. Often there are times when it is very noisy, and nothing you can do about it. The Bosun on the contrary, struggles to stay awake. Devin says filling the time can be tricky, with limited activities available to us.

Q. What do you do all day?
A. We have a well established watch system, so there is always someone awake. Dave spends most of his days watching the sails, and trimming them for optimal speed. The rest of us eat, sleep, talk about meals, prepare meals... We fish, read alot, play games, French lessons are a daily task, and in the evenings we watch TV!

Q. Are you putting on weight?
A. It is hard to say... We are in agreement that the Skipper has lost weight, the rest of us are not so sure. (The snack box is looking decidedly empty at this point though!) 

Q. What do you appreciate most when back on land?
A. The Bosun claims communication, and the internet keeping us in touch with the rest of the world. Walking, most of the crew agreed; the ability to get up and just walk - somewhere, anywhere - further than the bow and back. Annnd coffee. 

Q. Are you within sight of other ARC+ boats?
A. At the beginning we were, but being one of the slowest we quickly dropped behind. Although we have seen a few ships, we have not seen another ARC+ boat since day 5.

Q. What has been the best part of the trip so far?
A. Meeting the other participants, great dolphin displays, shooting comets, and a moonbow.

Q. Have you had many murderous thoughts yet? 
A. Do fish count?

Q. Do you feel isolated?
A. Yes and no. We do, in part, because we know we are, but we are able to send and recieve some emails and sat phone calls. We keep in touch with some of the other boats. Also, Haji is not the most spacious boat, and there are four of us onboard!

Q. Would you have done this journey other than as part of the ARC?
A. Most definitely, yes. The ARC is a great way to meet people and to have support, however the timing has not been great. The trade winds have yet to kick in, making this a long passage. We would also have spent longer to recoup between legs had we not been part of the rally. Mainly though, joining the ARC has been symbolic, part of our family history.

Q. Have you run out of booze yet?
A. Not quite... However the beer will not hold out until we arrive. Luckily, the Bosun has been dry (or to use his word 'sober') for the whole journey, otherwise our stores would be much depleted.

Q. Do you have a desalination machine for water?
A. Yes, but it is not operational. I am sure we could make it work in a dire situation. 

Q. Any sign of scurvy?
A. The canned fruit is keeping it at bay (?) 

Q. Are there any advantages to being a smaller, heavier, older boat? 
A. We believe we are among the safer of the vessels. Haji is experienced, and good at taking care of herself. She has accumulated so much 'stuff' onboard, we are quite self-sufficient, enough to have been able to provide spare parts to other boats. She draws many admirers, and helps us make friends too!

Q. What are your biggest disadvantages?
A. We aren't able to carry as much water and diesel as others. Our solar panels are quite outdated and struggle to keep up with our demands. Of course, we are also slower.

Q. Do you know when you will arrive in Rodney Bay?
A. Hopefully before the finish line closes on the 5th. However, it is a difficult thing to estimate. Our aim is to arrive before Gerry!

Q. How does the handicap system work? 
A. We are not 100% sure, nor do we fully agree with it. Some people have been sorely disadvantaged, while others have a handicap much more fitting to a slower boat... Luckily, it is a cruising race and participating is more important than winning! 

Thank you for the questions!
Haji Out.

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