Archive for May, 2012
Created in response to a report on the current status of soil and water management, the Centre, based at Harper Adams University College in Shropshire in the English Midlands, aims to provide ‘sustainable improvements’ in farming and ecosystem efficiency through better knowledge co-ordination, transfer and development.
Challenger has committed to backing the Centre for three years and will be involved in knowledge transfer days, ongoing research and extensive educational programmes for farmers and agronomists.
“Challenger’s mission statement: ‘Your Soil, Our Territory’ fits particularly well with the project,” explained Martin Hamer, Challenger Manager National Sales, UK. “Our tracked machines are already helping farmers to look after their most valuable resource – the land.”
Not a golf hole. A wind hole. We were cruising along and we all hit it. We were in the lead, and it was disheartening to see almost all of the rest of the fleet come within sight distance today. But we’re moving steadily along to the scoring gate between Cuba and Haiti, currently in 2nd position. We are working hard to move forward, together.
Actual conversation: “My hair is wet and just won’t dry out.” “That’s grease.” “Oh.”
Along with our wind hole came a chance for deck showers, first since we left for Panama, and it was lovely. Below deck is quite warm, and I am more thankful than I can say for a functioning fan…let’s hope my stockpile of batteries last me for just a while longer until we get far enough north.
While our boat was effectively parked in the wind hole, we saw some yellow-fin tuna actually swimming around the boat! They were magnificent! Stuart and the other fishing fanatics hopped on the chance to throw a line in, and we will have fresh fish for dinner tonight!!! I’ve overcome my seasickness for the most part…but then again it could simply be that we are not sailing at a severe angle at the moment. Living on a boat is not easy, and that is just one of the numerous physical challenges we must face.
Off I go from the smelly underbelly of the Big Blue Canoe to the deck for fresh tuna for dinner…Mmmm…
We finally did start after days of waiting on the Caribbean side of Panama. Race start was at twilight. We did a Le Mans start. That means that all the boats lined up at an agreed-upon location and order. The sails were down and ready, and all of the crew members behind the grinder, mid-ship. At the appointed time (we had a countdown via radio), all the crews scurried to their locations and started hoisting, grinding, trimming…it was an absolute blast. We received the west-most location, it offered a lovely view of all the boats lining up. So we finally started. We’ve had quite a bit of wind on our way to New York City. We are living at an angle! If you picture the deck of the boat turned so far to the port (left) side that the wooden edge is barely touching the water…that would be it. Then picture how difficult it is to move around below deck, not being able to anticipate boat movements and waves. Confession: I’ve been seasick, again. Ugh. But I’m on the mend! We have Gold Coast off our starboard side, they are 1 mile behind us. We’re about 100 miles until Jamaica, then shortly thereafter, the scoring gate between Haiti and Cuba. We’re aiming to get there first. I better go take a breather up on deck…waves and living at an angle mean no open hatches, which means life below is again a sauna.
The Institute began educating agricultural students 100 years ago in 1912 and is now a modern Agricultural Upper Secondary School.
The tractors provided by Massey Ferguson will continue to be renewed over the years, helping students at the school which specialises in agriculture, horse keeping and outdoor pursuits.
Transiting through the Panama Canal was quite a unique experience! We sailed through the two sets of gates, filled with rivets that slowly opened. This transit took one day, and in passing through, we had crossed over from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side of the world. The lock itself was quite impressive, especially considering it was constructed almost 100 years ago. There are 3 locks, each with either 2 or 3 sets of gates in each. It was like walking up and over a bridge as the Pacific locks brought us higher and the Caribbean locks brought us back down. What an amazing feat of engineering! There were workers that walk along the edge of the lock. They have lines with weights at the ends of them that they sling onto the boats. We then attach our lines to theirs and they anchor us to the sides. As the water fills or empties, we adjusted the lines accordingly. This is another experience that I will never forget, and am happy to be able to share this with you! Unfortunately our communication system broke down at the end of the last Race, so we had to navigate and be in touch with Clipper via the Radar and satellite phones. It was quite difficult for me to have no communication, and in some ways I felt cut off from the world and the people I loved back home. My friends and family had written me letters and notes for each day of my journey, so those became a lifeline and irreplaceable encouragement. After a few day’s stay in Panama, we are now back on board, and I am happy to say that our communication system is up and running once more. We’re now motoring to a given point off the coast, where we will do a Le Mans race start at sea. I am so excited about this, and will tell you all about it in my next blog!