The gear is here and yesterday got wet for the first time having undergone the first stages of fitting out.
Early trials with my old round Britain board were interesting. I increased gear carrying capacity but had glossed over the difficulties of launching and landing with such a loaded craft. So I slashed my limit and realigned myself with 'fast and light' principles. I also slashed (carefully cut) the orange spray hood which initially extended further forward. So, I am back with what I know - minimal gear.
Luggage in the front I will keep in a (second) dry-bag backpack, so this can be worn during launch and land to reduce the board weight and difficulty / likelihood of damage during these operations. Light and bulky stuff in here.
The barrel will take the heavier items.
Essential safety kit, hats, gloves etc go in the smaller backpack that I will wear at all times.
I have had extended discussions with myself and others about the merits of a paddle. On the round Britain I started with a paddle but abandoned it after only a few weeks because:
a) I hadn't devised a sensible storage solution
b) I hadn't devised a way to paddle with the sail still rigged
There are good reasons to have a paddle from a safety perspective. A paddle also makes a great prop to support the sail on land to make a shelter. And if there are long periods with genuinely no wind then it is conceivable it could help make a useful distance paddling - although having just spoken to a guy who has sailed the Norwegian coast in a yacht his advice was to "rest and get fat" during times of total calm. Apparently the fishing is very good.
At the moment I am taking a paddle, a very light one-piece comes in at 500g which is dainty enough to be unobjectionable. Having the spray deck simplifies the storage problem. More work is needed before I declare solved the sail-balancing problem (but recent experimentation has been encouraging...).
I'll be flying out to Bergen on May 8th. Large aircraft fly to Bergen and they will take my board, but it is too big for the smaller planes on the routes to the north of the country. So from Bergen I will board the MS Nordlys Hurtigruten ship and enjoy the 6 day trip to Kirkenes, close to the Russian border. To take this route is a real privilege, and I'll be in position ready for the 17th May first possible start date.
I'm very much looking forward to it, though with some trepidation as it does appear to have been a very snowy year and winter still has a firm grip at the moment (they have extended the season for snow-scooters, apparently).
Lots to do still. Looking forward to a rest once I get on the boat at Bergen...
Below is a short vblog from yesterday: