Final day

Birmingham, 15th April 2002
The promise of an early start fell through as Tim overslept and failed to put the generator on - the daily signal to get up. So after an extra 90 minutes in bed we breakfast, prep the boat and head out. Since the conditions are still quite bad we raise the main inside the marina and headsails are up as soon as we're clear of the breakwater. We're now in familiar water, sailing up the Solent towards Southampton. We finally meet the other two crews out training this week and head into Southampton Water. It's really sheltered here with flat water and less wind than before. We can now try and catch up on some of the drills we couldn't get done in the bad weather - we have our first man overboard drill. As soon as the dan buoy goes overboard, the flag and the float come apart so we cheat and get them back in quickly. The second goes a little more to plan, but still fairly disorganised.

We get in some lunch around 1pm, pasta and pesto. I'm feeling fine in the flatter water, so manage to get in a full lunch. After lunch we do some work on sail trim, getting the feel of both the calling trim and the grinding on the winches. There's quite a bit of communication that has to be done, and general awareness of what's going on, all through hand signals and looking around. It's all made a bit harder since you usually take the trim of the sail by looking at the airflow over both sides at the leading edge of the sail. This is indicated by little strips of cotton tied at various points to the sail; given it was raining though, they all got stuck to the surface of the sail.

Another man overboard goes much better than the last one and we finally head into Ocean Village - a very welcome site. All the boats went in together, and once docked we stayed on deck to go through some spinnaker work. Given the conditions we couldn't fly it when sailing, but we went through rigging the pole, the hoist and moving the pole around. Really quite useful to go through it all over again, although for the crew who hadn't seen one flying from the boat it must have been difficult to image how it all works.

We finally shower and get to the restaurant for some food and then to the pub. All in all an exhausting week. Quite different from a normal training sail, since we had a good reason to keep plugging away into the wind, and possibly closer to the kind of sailing we'll do during the race. However the luxury of coming into ports and not having to push the boat to the maximum all the time makes a huge difference! One thing that made a big difference, apart from drinking lots of water, was the kit that I bought before the sail. Feeling dry, on the inside at least, makes a huge difference and well worth the outlay cost. All in all, a good week.