An amazing weekend with my team (whom I feel quite protective over already!) Champagne on the poop deck, quizzes to melt your brain, food, wine, good company and more wine all consumed and debated in a very British fashion. We are Team GB......glass of fizz anyone?
A medley of words written by Skipper and Wing Co..
A fantastic Crew Bonding weekend was certainly had by all 30 attending members of Team GREAT Britain in the heart of London!
With expert military organization led by the Wing Commander (Simon Rosbottom) assisted by his Navigator Sam Adams, the weekend started with two thirds of the group meeting on Friday evening with some early doors 'pre-lube Level 5' training (to quote Wing Co's words precisely) at the remarkable home of Ocean Racing - the Royal Ocean Racing Club in St James.
After several liveners, handshakes, kisses, hugs, shoulder slaps, stories of Clipper Race training exploits and photos with a rather large Union flag (not necessarily in that order), it was a short walk to Davy's on King Street for some very fine nibbles and yet more grog in tankards and wine glasses. At which we were graced by the presence of some drop in VIPs who shall remain unnamed!
Following morning, the Wing Co. required the squadron crew to assemble at 0945 hours on Potter's field, the lawn between City Hall and Tower Bridge to receive orders for a 1000 start.
Four teams of six, North, South, East and West had been previously selected and after receiving their mission briefings, set off in a five minute launch pattern on what can only be described as 'a nautically themed, cryptic, mind bending, head in hands, treasure orienteering quiz' along the Thames.
I say 'along the Thames' but with the task of not only solving 82 Sherlock quality clues but also having to photograph themselves indicating something resembling teamwork, collect a miscellany of useless items including a rusty nail, a horse chestnut leaf, a Union flag and a Henri Lloyd coathanger, one team clocked in eight miles of determined observant marching taking them down Whitehall and crossing the Thames two and half times - it was a suitable four hour challenge!
Needless to say, all the teams arrived late at a cost of one point per minute after the exercise completion time of 1400. Team South, ably skippered by Charlotte Morton-Haworth arrived first, only five minutes late and were well tucked into their lunch by the time the other teams arrived all within the next 15 minutes. There followed a well-deserved drink and hearty lunch for all. It transpired that the tactical decision of abandoning point scoring to mitigate penalty points from lateness, was a winning combination. Charlotte and Co triumphed by just two points over team West who remarkably completed the entire 7.8 mile route, scoring 93 of a possible 108 but arrived late incurring a 20 point penalty.
After the frivolity of marking, the team then received sage words of advice on conflict management wrapped up in silly, fun exercises which put them in good stead for voting on the team song. Despite being billed as the fight of the century the conflict resolution training clearly worked as voting couldn't have been quicker or simpler. After group dispersion it left ELO's 'All over the world' facing off against the Star Wars theme. ELO's slight numerical advantage in the room was further compounded by a fistful of additional 'postal' votes from those exercising democracy by email from overseas. The team were then joined by Neil and Richard, GREAT Britain alumni from the 2013-14 race and two hours of questions and answers ensued before it was time to eat again. Despite a careful recce earlier in the week, Plan A was scuppered by the establishment being closed so Plan B was adopted which proved quite possibly better than plan A if it had come about!
Sunday was a more sedate affair as the crew assembled on HQS Wellington, the livery hall of the Honorable Company of Master Mariners moored on Temple Embankment. Starting with a Skype conference call with seven crew on training at Gosport and several crew calling in from Australia, New Zealand and Singapore the crew received a briefing from the skipper on various aspects of the race. Following a champagne reception, Peter then gave a guided tour of the ship and a most civilised luncheon followed. We thought we had a star after dinner speaker in our midst when 'Hooray' Hendley began what was a remarkably measured and erudite speech only to forget the toast. Lastly before coffee and truffles on the upper decks, it was deemed suitable to present the graciously donated Stormhoek wine to Team West who deserved significant recognition for actually completing the previous day's orienteering challenge - congratulations! Needless to say - more wine was then poured to go and enjoy the sun looking out over the Thames and seeing the afternoon and evening out.
To wrap up - a well organised, fun weekend was had by all and we were even joined later by some of the crew who had come up from Gosport after their level three deep clean! Good effort and onwards to RACE START!
We've also set up our Unicef text to donate number. Text GBNI72 to 70070 followed by a space and a number indicating the amount donated (up to £10). E.G. GBNI72 5