So avid fans since I have last blogged much has happened, here is a little update for you to peruse at your pleasure.
We completed our final fitness tests after our three weeks of muscle beasting we had satisfactorily increased our muscle mass and smashed through the pull ups, press ups, planking, single leg squat off and rowing scrutiny.
We also managed to squeeze in a diesel engine course which despite me being filed with dread and fear of the day of boredom the guys at stormforce coaching were very informative and now I think I might be able to diagnose an air filter from a piston shaft.
To finish off our first Rookie month of training we were to race, match racing style, our two boats to Poole. This epic journey involved leaving the safety of Cowes marina and crossing the knarley Solent, past lymington and escaping through the tight gap between Hurst castle and the spiky end of the Isle of Wight. With the white rocks of the Needles on our port side, we were out into the real ocean crossing for many miles, passing the sandy beaches and loud nightclubs of bournemouth on starboard. Until we could see the white cliffs of Old Harry rocks and could dive into the safety of Poole harbour!
With this as our plan we got out our navigation software and looked at all the potential hazards, down loaded weather files and discussed the best route to take. We then got to learn some highly advanced secret special knots to use only in emergencies.
So off we set on a rather bleak and blustery day, in the blonde team Willy and myself took boat number 77 and in the darkies team we had Hugh-zaphene and Hamster (new nick names) in boat number 23. There was a tight tussle on the start line but using our match racing experience and with me bossing Willy around sufficiently, we claimed the dominating position and cover tacked them all the way to Poole. Here we are victorious and tucking into my favourite biscuit of all time ‘party rings’ to celebrate.
The best news was that we made it to dry land in time for the rugby, but the excitement was all to much for Will, here he is trying to catch some flies with his mouth.
We followed up our epic sail with our end of Rookie week and end of season (for the 2015 Rookies) Artemis dinner where we were joined by all the Artemis sailors past and present. We all shared stories, had some lovely food and had one or two rum’s (Nelson’s blood) and a bit of a dance off in a highly classy bournemouth establishment!
Luckily for those who partied too hard the sail (motor) home wasn’t too strenuous, a beautiful and entirely windless day, totally different from the day before. Here is Will looking very cool in his shades (last time they will be used this year).
Then followed a week off where we got a chance to recover our muscles, and to move our lives to Cowes where we will be training from until christmas. I also got a chance to get in some money earning by coaching some talented youth nippers in 29ers. Lots of fun and a great reminder of all the important things, like how to not capsize!
There was some time for a few more gym sessions! Here I am doing my best Dee Caffari impression.
Now back in the beautiful Wight Isle, little did we know we were in for an absolute soaking of a week.
We soon settled into our new home, joining the local cross fit gym to keep up our muscle development and here are the boys snuggled up for movie night.
Highlights of our on the water training involved aligning rudders in an enormous rain cloud whilst wearing our shore clothes (idiots). Lots of boat handing practice, hoisting, dropping, sheeting in, winching up and generally making it quite sweaty under the waterproof layers, yum.
Obviously we are still working on our selfie technique, this is an on going project that I think we will develop over the upcoming year.
And then finally after what seems like endless weeks of light winds we had a frightening Friday! It was epic, 35 knots, limited visibility, tide against wind creating some lovely big chop for the boats to get stuck right into. The waves were jumping up and being sprayed right into my eyeballs and all across the deck. We passed lots of sailing school boats with full reefed down storm sails, looking at us like we were mad with our big sails, on our own, speed tuning within boat lengths of each other.
My most enjoyable moments were getting serious air off the deck whilst trying to attach the kite to the bow and then being slammed ribs first straight into the pulpit as the boat submerges into the bottom of the wave and over my head. I quite enjoyed doing my first solo mainsail reef and beating the boys who were 2 up! And then there was downwind where we were zooming about with our petite kites up with the occasional little broach and then bringing it back under control and zooming off again!
The best sail we have had so far! Now I’m off for the weekend to go and impart some coaching knowledge to my 29ers back on monday for some more big boating action.