So another week of fantastic sailing. This time we were out on the Clipper 70's - the boats we will be sailing in the race. They are bigger (70ft!) and designed slightly differently - 2 main winch coffee grinders, 90ft mast, accomodation further aft. They are beautiful. We are playing wth the big boys now. This week was all about consolidation and learning about sailing with a spinnakar up - something we will be doing alot of. It was exciting.
Yet another bunch of really great people made it so much fun even when the weather was rough and I felt a bit sea sick. Mostly the weather was perfect for training with not too much wind but enough to get us going. The only rough day was ok apart from having to go below to repack the spinnaker - a job for a strong stomach - not sail packing but being below working in rough weather! Still we did it and once back on deck we were ok.
We had the amazing Iordan from Bulgaria to keep our spirits up with mad Bulgarian beaver stories and some Eastern European mafia overtones! It was lovely to have such a mix of cultures and experiences to share with everyone. We also had a nightly debrief in the pub to make sure we were fully bonded as a crew. We find out our racing teams in 10 days time - that's when the action really starts. I'd like to get involved in the sail repair side of things and I've signed up for a Marine Diesel Engine Maintainence Course and will finally get my VHF radio licence - a 20 year wait from being a RN Radio Operator! The more skills the better to help my team.
We had a few minor dramas this week - a snapping sheet (rope) and a minor flood - leaking seacock. All were dealt with quickly and efficiently. Most importantly we got to try out some of our kit and my Gauss sleeping bag is the best - warm, cosy and a safe haven from the cold and wet when I'm off watch. Boat food this week was good and Vernon and I even managed to produce canapes on the last night!
I've got a bit of a sailors suntan depite slapping on the factor 30. It was a glorious week and I'm looking forward to the challenges to come. We had 3 of the race skippers on board this week which was a great opportunity to see how they interacted with the crew and how they are approaching the race as a skipper. I'm glad to say I'd happily sail with all 3 of them. They were patient, safe and absolutly on the money with safety and sailing knowledge - they all also had a great sense of humour. I'd willingly put my faith in them.
I passed a mile stone this week - I finally made it to the top of the mast. I've decided it's not the height that's the problem but the moving around! I must say it was a great view and I'm glad I did it - I don't think I'll be repeating it at sea. The bow however is a fun place to be!
So roll on crew allocation and then L4. Not far until the start now.