Left this write up a little late… But this was my first successful float! Using a cheapo R3 board powered from a cheap ebay boost regulator. These things are designed for > 0.8v input and 5v regulated output. It turns out by changing a resistor value you can modify them for 3.3v output. These things are not very efficient so only lasted about 8-10 hours.
We filled the 36″ foil balloon carefully using 1.5g of solder to measure the free lift. Which proved to be just about perfect (thanks Leo!). The tracker performed fine (still concerned about the GPS bug before, even though it did not reach 12km) and the balloon floated at a steady 3.7km for 10 hours before the batteries died over the north sea.
I have been working on a new tracker PCB which should be smaller, lighter and last longer. Stay tuned for updates!