We are at the start of 2023 and with the race getting closer by the minute, it’s a good time to reflect on our achievements for the refit of S/V Outlaw during 2022.

2022 began with Skipper Campbell Mackie, First Mate Mike Miller and crew Lucy Frost being the first to see Outlaw since our determined “sight unseen” purchase back in July 2021, due to Covid related delays.  It was a scary but momentous and with relief, reassuring experience to find that although Outlaw was certainly in need of some work, she was essentially in very good shape for a yacht built in 1984.

The refit began in earnest in May and throughout the year, team members spread across the globe contributed to getting the job done.  Even friends made the journey to see what they could do to help, we are extremely thankful.  With thoughts of how we can lessen our environmental impact always at the forefront and keeping a close eye on our budget, we set about recycling, repairing and refurbishing as much as achievable for such a challenging race ahead.

The rig, keel and rudder had already been removed by the Scarano Boat Building team and the non-destructive testing of both rudder and keel proved encouraging with only one new bolt to be commissioned by one of our crew, who happens to be a naval architect!  It is certainly worth a mention that the owners of the Boat Building yard, John and Rick Scarano, have been incredibly helpful and welcoming to us and we’ve benefited from their knowledge, expertise advice and the use of their tool shed throughout.  S/V Outlaw was originally owned by Paul Scarano, their late brother and so we appreciate this is a project close to their hearts.  We have a responsibility to them and Pauls’ partner Victoria to ensure we honour his memory and as Paul & Victoria not only looked after Outlaw lovingly, but also kept meticulous notes and records.  Victoria even gave us the original plans submitted by Baltic when she was commissioned by Pleun van der Lugt in 1984.

Once we’d taken photos of layouts, marked up items to be temporarily removed, serviced and replaced and had a really good clear out of anything unsalvageable, the infrastructure stage began.  Unfortunately the electrics were beyond redemption so new were installed but we’ve been able to service the genset, engine, fuel and water tanks, all winches including repair work to the primary winches and hydraulics amongst other items.  We’ve replaced some parts in the original deck gear but managed to keep and service most of it and found most of the original pipe cots so asked Scaranos to fabricate the few more we needed. The mast and spars are also getting refurbished and repainted by a Scarano employee, with the electric cables pulled and mousing lines installed ready for the halyards.

We have a great crew who can turn their hand to anything and have made items from scratch including a magnificent fibreglass dodger, storm hatches, waterproof locker inserts and all sorts. We’ve also sourced many second-hand items such as a Barograph, Walker Trailing Log, Radio Direction Finders, HF radio, fridges and freezer.

As we’ll be racing, it makes sense to replace some of the sails with new but not before we’ve used the current sail suite to cross the Atlantic to the UK in the spring and what we won’t keep, we’ll then recycle into crew bags.  The storm sail is certainly good for re-use and about to be painted orange!

So the refit continues in 2023 but with 90% of the infrastructure complete and our attention now turning to restoring Outlaw’s sailing capabilities and achieving compliance with the Notice of Race requirements. Watch this space

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