Final bits and pieces

I picked up a new camera today.  I don’t really want to rely on my GF-1 kit on the boats for the coming year.  Especially in order to have a camera to grab and shoot ‘on the go’.  Although I’ll have it with me for those must have shots, it will be living in a dry bag with lots of moisture absorbing sachets.

I’ve no idea what the weather will throw at us whilst out sailing but one thing is for sure, wet and salty isn’t ideal for any camera.  To that end I’ve selected a ‘rugged’ spec water-resistant shock proof camera.  Rated to 12 metres, it will take splashes but most importantly keep salt out of switches and joints.

Reviews keep popping up the Lumix FT-3 as the best image taker, which after all is why I want this gizmo.  Test shots today seem to back up these findings, so that’s what I went for.

Inevitably these days, a camera to take pics isn’t enough, you need a quiver of additional features that add to cost, ultimately compromising the ‘headroom’ to optimise the camera.  In this case, the marketeers decided that a compass, barometre (yes really) and GPS are essential, while control of aperture and shutter are not, nor an ability to shoot in Raw.  I can live without HD movies, but of the add ons, this one seems pretty useful.

The camera I’d love to buy would be an Olympus XZ-1 with a weather proof case as per rugged cameras, but sadly it appears to not exist.  There is the route to weather proofing using a housing, but the added bulk makes it something that won’t fit in a pocket and its overkill for a splash proof solution.

Size wise, the Lumix is ideal and will fit nicely into my chest pocket on the boat, remaining handy at all times.  Despite its compromised controls, It’ll serve well as a useful alternate for the GF kit.

I’ll post up some pics soon.

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Pre course prep

Well,  just a short post to update where the prep is for the course starting 3 weeks today.

My Peli-case laptop case arrived before Christmas and has already proved itself with a trip to Spain in the panniers:- Excellent device, though chunky, well worth the next to bomb proof protection it offers.

The new HTC phone I bought is equally beefed up with an Otter shock absorbing sleeve and is now full of weather and wind apps.

On a more pragmatic level, 2b pencils, map case, erasers, 12 volt adaptor/chargers and all that stuff ready.  Books are nicely piled up and well thumbed.

I’ve also laid out all my layers and weather gear and pared it all back to the minimum ‘basic hygenic’ level for trips extending to 2-3 weeks without laundry.

I want to say a big thanks to:

Neil at TE Partnership for supplying my Gill kit and Dubarry boots.  Needless to say this is top quality kit and I can’t wait to try it out. Gill & Dubarry

Chloe at Icebreaker for supplying some smell proof (yes, it really is) Icebreaker thermals Icebreaker.com

Mike at Dogtag insurance for the help in getting my travel cover in place and a cracking rate.  Dogtag.co.uk

And of course Isabelle for letting me bugger off for 17 weeks. 🙂

As always, more to come!

Volvo Ocean Race 2011

This race, out of all the circumnavigation competitions is for me the pinnacle.  2011-2012 is especially exciting and I’m looking forward to the action.

Whilst ‘bad luck’ seems to have played its part in the withdrawal of three boats in leg one to Cape town, I can’t help but wonder, with half the fleet affected with structural issues already, whether the boats are a step too far?  Similar questions are being asked of the new Americas Cup multi-hulls, but having seen the action from Plymouth, I personally can’t wait for their big brothers to make an appearance.

Here’s a long but suitably in depth look at leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante to Cape Town.

One day!