Friends and Family Day

Cambridge, 31st August 2002
On the weekend of the 15/16th June the Challenge Business put on a friends and family day. A series of short semiars and a barbeque on the saturday night, with half day sails on saturday morning and sunday morning and afternoon. Since I had to be in Cambridge both saturday afternoon and sunday evening it was going to be a tight fit!

Since Isabelle, my daughter, was only 5 weeks old we hadn't left her with anyone else, but we thought that she (and us) would manage for a few hours on sunday morning. My mum made a willing babysitter, and kindly offered to drive us all to Southampton on saturday afternoon. After meeting some fellow volunteers at the barbeque - who already knew me from reading this site - and having loads of food we went off to spend the night in a hotel. Most of the other volunteers were staying on the boats, but with a tiny baby we didn't think that would either be practical or fair on everyone else.

After the few hours of sleep that Isabelle let us have, we started off for the boat at around 8am. As we arrived the boat was pretty much prepared already, so just a few tasks left before donning life jackets and the required safety talk before the sail. Our skipper was Alfie, who I'd sailed with for two weeks last summer; the safety talk was very familiar! A different feel though with more crew who knew what they were doing; I think everyone was guilty of confusing the friends and family with the volunteers at some point though.

Since time was very limited we starting sailing in Southampton water and managed enough tacks up to Cowes to let everyone get a feel for some of the jobs on the boat. We both managed a go at the wheel; Caroline doing very well at keeping the boat on course as we were reaching back to Southampton.

We arrived back in Southampton to find my mum, her friend, and my daughter all waiting for us, although I think Isabelle missed most of it as she was asleep... Enough time for a quick pizza at the nearby restaurant, before the drive back to Cambridge that afternoon. All in all a great day; my mum managed to have a tour round the boat - the first time she'd seen them, Caroline got to come sailing, and we managed to enjoy ourselves on the water and not worry too much about Isabelle!