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Apr 11

Back on the water

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Back at the dock

When the chance to get back on the water ¬†came along at the last minute I jumped at the chance. The weekend before last I briefly met German skipper Lina who has just managed to launch her own mini campaign with a Pogo2 and was looking for a co-skipper for her first race in the boat. Sadly I was super busy with work last week so I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked to help her prepare. On Friday evening when we had the briefing we knew it was going to be windy….really windy (up to 35kts and the course was going to be basically upwind/ close reaching most the way). So there was no second thoughts as I jumped into my drysuit on Saturday morning as I knew it was going to be a wet and wild ride. As soon as we got to the race area squall came through which set the tune for the race. The start was ok for us (sadly there were some collisions in the 77 boat fleet) then we took a very cautious sail plan up to the windward mark and around the Iland of Groix before heading upwind to the Glenans where the wind backed off a bit before picking up again and shifting south (so it was upwind again) as we headed towards Belle Ile. As Lina was new to the boat and while it was a Pogo 2, it was not set up in the same way as 635 we has some very interesting moments. I feel a bit guilty for not having time last week to help prepare the boat more as I am sure I would have spotted some of the small but highly annoying issues that came up. Small issues and getting to know a slightly different set up would not normally be a problem but at times it was testing during the Saturday night. We had no wind data so not sure what the wind reached but enough that we had 2 reefs in the main and swapped to the storn jib. Other boats near us saw 39kts so it was safe to say it was windy! Again I feel a bit guilty about it suggesting it was a good learning opportunity for Lina to change to the storm jib…..when really I just didn’t want to get even wetter and colder!! Sadly on Sunday morning after it became apparent we could not make it course in the time period it was decided to turn around and go back to Lorient. I had though maybe a couple of other boats had made the same decision but when we got to the marina it was clear a lot of others did as well. In the end only 20 of the series boats made the time period….and basically only the newer/faster designs. So we did not finish but I hope that I was of some use of helping a new mini sailor get more confident in big conditions.

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Red eyed from the near constant spray in the face bashing upwind

The other negative point on the race was that I had a near constant ear ache which as one point on sat night was near unbearable due to the pressure in my ear. Lina is a medical student so at least I was in good hands if it got too bad! So this morning I went to the hospital and was sent to the Otolaryngologists also known as an ear, nose and throat specialist. It as kind of interesting trying to explain (in French) that even though I had a sore throat and a suspected broken nose (rugby training on Thursday night) I decided to go sailing instead of the hospital. Thankfully when I got to the specialist he was a sailor who seemed much more accepting of my choice! So after a very uncomfortable session on cameras and inspections I was sent away with a long list of pills/sprays etc and will go back next week for another appointment.

So while my weekend back on the water was tough it was still great fun. It also highlighted how much it was not just the sailing I miss…..but having an objective/project/goal to work on.