With a car in bits and nothing to race I was getting with-drawl symptoms! As the weeks went on they got worse and worse…racing Suzy and Charlotte to the office Kettle just wasn’t enough… then an opportunity presented itself!!
I got a call from one of our suppliers at work to say that they had a space on a racing yacht on the Thursday of Cowes week and would I like to race – it wasn’t a hard question to answer!
So on Wednesday the 6th of August I packed my bags and made my way by car and high speed Cat to the Isle of White. I spent that night sleeping on the yacht, Spirit of Isis which we would be racing the next day with a crew of 14. We also explored the nightlife and bands playing…the atmosphere was great and as you can see from this quick snap I took there was one of two yachts taking part!
On Thursday Morning the rest of my crew arrived, we got kitted up in Mount Gay Rum t-shirts our unofficial sponsors for the day and headed out on to the solent for some practice.
The secret to doing well was going to be learning to work quickly as a team to make the jibes and tacks as quick as possible, this would ensure we kept as much momentum as possible each time we turned. We had a lot to live up to our skipper and boat had won the day before!
As the ten minute canon sounded we were heading for the start (no 10 min boards here but it somehow seemed familiar). As the five minute canon went we experienced a problem I’ve never had racing my locost…the wind dropped. The idea is that when the starting canon fires everyone is pointing in the right direction as close to the start line as possible and going as fast as you can – timing and approach are everything. Sadly with no wind we were left trailing. Everyone else started and we were struggling to get to the line…we finally made it over the line 5 minutes after the other 13 yachts in our race.
We now had a real battle on our hands…over the next three hours we worked like crazy determined to make every change of direction as good as we could and slowly we caught and overtook them one by one until only the leader was left in front of us.
A couple of brilliant turns and we were on them, it stayed neck and neck for a while then rounding one of the marks we pulled ahead (we were leading!) crossing another race we dived between the other yachts and made our escape whilst they got diverted off course trying to find a gap in the busy yachts. Sadly we then made two very poor turns when sheets got stuck and suddenly they were on us again. As the line grew nearer it was a battle against time and the other crew to see who would clinch it…and we did it! Finishing 1 minute ahead of them and 12 minutes ahead of the all female crew on Spirit of Minerva who came in third. Our official race time 3 hours, 36 minutes and 22 seconds!