Corporate Sailing (continued)

Cambridge, 31st August 2001
For myself just the chance to be on the boats, under a little less stress than the training weeks, was amazing. Learning where everything was, how most of the essential systems worked (including the car stereo below deck) and how to do the basics sailing jobs was really useful. Plus the odd bit of free kit helps! Alex was good with me, as he had also been with Olly, about getting me to help out with the sail trim - how the sails are set. It is just something you learn by experience; by looking at the sails, how they change when you change the setting, etc. The earlier that learning starts, the more useful I'll be to my race crew. Alex's aim is to be a race skipper on my race; to the extent that he's stopping working for the company to sail in Antarctica for the next 6 months for the southern ocean experience. He said a couple of times that he'd be pleased to get Olly and myself as crew on his race boat, so we must have been doing something right.

I had the luck on the second week to coincide with the America's Cup Jubilee Regatta. There were lots of modern 12m race boats from the last few years, the GBR Team for the next America's Cup, and lots of classic America's Cup boats. These included 3 J-Class boats, which were originally raced in the 1930's, recently restored at the cost of millions. They're 120foot long, and just dwarfed all the other yachts. I got some photos, which are up on the website in the gallery section.

So with sailing for the day over with, the boat cleaned and put to bed by around 5.30pm, the main activity was the odd tipple at Los Marinos. A few times this lead to a night out - one night out on the second thursday was a little memorable. There were about 8 of us in the group, who during the course of the evening split up into 3 couples, with myself and Alex as the amused onlookers. Names obviously omitted to spare the innocent...

On the middle weekend, Olly's parents came down to visit and took him off to a hotel for the night and got his washing done. To save me from boredom on my own in the boat I was pleased to welcome Caroline (the girlfriend) for the weekend; she now knows how uncomfortable the bunks are that I'll have to live in for a year. On that sunday, the other Caroline (the sister) also came down with her boyfriend, Wade, and his mum to have a look. A video was taken to show around, which I'm sure will be pretty cringe-making to look at; myself parading around in full foul weather gear, lifejacket, etc.

In summary, I'm really pleased to have done it. To get to meet some of the people I'll be racing with or against, to be able to work on the tan and to get to nose around the winning boat have all been great. I've probably drunk a good deal of what I earnt, but just to have the excuse to get out of Cambridge for more than a week is worth that. With the next training sail booked for the 22nd of November, I'll be looking forward to pushing the boats and myself a little harder and faster!