Skandia Team GBR

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cheap Gin, Drama & Too Many Sausages (Southport 24Hour Race)

First Enterprise Yay!

So this post is very very rushed for 2 reasons.. (1) the memories are starting to fade already and (2) this laptop gets handed back tomorrow as I change jobs… sorry but it’ll be better than nothing, I hope!

Anyway, lets wind back to the start… It was touch and go for a while as to whether I was gonna make it to Southport, no crew meant no pass out, even for the Commodore! So social media (facebook, twitter etc) were put into action to try to attract an awesome crew to sail (and drink) with me.. a few false starts, lots of interest but “cant make this weekend” responses and then, from left field, Anne Jackson (already on the team) realised that Rachel had never done Southport and wanted too… perfect!

So The Jackson’s rocked up at chez Clay Friday night a few minutes after I’d finished my home-made steak and chips…good timing.. we transferred the contents of here car into my boot and headed-off in the bloody rain towards Southport and “the party”… two and a half hours later, a coupe of wrong turns and almost constant story telling from Anne we arrived, the rain had eased so tents were “popped-up” quickly and off to the bar.

Up until that point everything was clear, but after that it was a haze of pints of Bitter, G&T, friends I hadn't seen for 12 months or more, team members and random strangers.. I love how you just pick up from where you left off, proper friends!

So at some point in the way too early in the morning kinda timeframe I stumbled with a couple of “colleagues” over to the tents and we all disappeared. Despite the rain I actually slept bloody well until 8am ish (a lie in our house!), I was disappointed to have not managed to get a “lake view” but I think it was quieter at the back and therefore it was a small price to pay! I dozed for a while longer and then after some tweets etc located the best source of sausage, baps & coffee….

So after numerous cups of tea (the coffee taste crap 1st thing, improved later) and some “breakfast” it was time to help sort the boat our and get the starting guys on the water cleanly… Johnny & Alex had a decent start, second flight and great boat speed..and then that was it.. round the marine lake the guys went and I settled in for some watching sailing, drinking tea and catching up with everyone.

Went to the Commodores Reception as always, nice glass of sparkling wine and some canapes… didnt get mullered this year, think you only make that mistake once!

The time to chillax watching the sailing… I did think that it would be very cool if the boats had GPS’s in them so you could track the paths.. be interesting to see whether the top 10 did anything dramatically different than the rest of the fleet!?

We got ourselves over the course of the first few hours up to top 10 position and 1st / 2nd Enterprise so we were on the money, the course was very much in favour of the GP14’s so that was gonna be a battle to climb any higher in the rankings.. but we were god damn trying!

So come late evening, as the sun was starting to set, I was fed and watered (pizza mainly) me and Rachel Jackson sat watching the wind drop (ideal) and the HUGE menacing black clouds build over the sea…<gulp>, interestingly the talk around the boat park was of it getting up to 20-30knots but Johnny was adamant that some weird meteorological “thing” was going to happen and the wind would drop more.

Anne Jackson and Claire were on before us and, as we saw the rain move slowly across the retail park and the dark clouds come above us, and the wind squalling in at 20-30 knots…. I started bricking myself… the last time I sailed an Enterprise was exactly 1 year ago at Southport 24 hour race, I’ve lost weight and Rachel is shall we say on the light side… all up weight was barely 16 stone, not ideally for the squally conditions!

So after lots of pannicking, debate etc we decided to put me helming and Stevie Graham in the front, Anne had had enough so we dived in (a shall we say slick but hairy changeover) out into the middle of the marine lake and then a quick gybe and settle down for our stint… Nailing that first gybe out of the changeover area was awesome, and my confidence came back in bucket-loads… so we had a great 2 hours sailing in decent breeze, with the occasional mad squall coming through, we both sailed well and the boat felt bloody fast!

So we had a great session and I was absolutely buzzing when I cam off the water…. proper big GRINS! So had a half decent hot shower, cup of tea and then went and cracked open a bottle of organic Gin & borrowed Tonic in cardboard Waybuloo cups ;-) So that set me up for a great evening of merriment and then bed in the not too early hours of the morning …

So what was I think around 5am in the morning the alarm went off… coffee, lots of coffee and food, lots of sausages were purchased to get me awake enough to sail the Ent (in first place Ent and in the top 10 overall) around the marine lake with Rachel.

The wind was decent, Rachel thankfully was awake and we went out in her first sail at the Southport 24 hour race and had a great sail, we were consistant, had good boat speed and managed to hold our position nicely (Thanks babes)…. come 8am our stint was done and it was time to retire to the team area, drink more coffee, try to sober up a bit and watch the racing…

So by the end of the 24 hours we were 1st Enterprise, the first time SoulSailor Racing Association has achieved this AND we had 3 * 1/4 lap penalties… ermm didnt I mention that? OK, I only did one of them ;-)

So another awesome event, Southport 24 hour race is a must attend event for all dinghy sailors… it was an awesome craic!

Thanks very much to the team, it was definitely a team event and we succeeded in awesome fashion… see you next year and hopefully before then!!

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