A first at Cowes Week!

I’m back in the Hamble, working my way through countless loads of laundry and sailing kit and reflecting on the week of racing that has just gone by unbelievably fast!

I have been crewing Hunter 707 Turbulence again, doing ‘pit’ position again after a break away from the team for family reasons. It turns out that we really are a premier crew as we have had great results and teamwork on the water every day.

With the weather starting out fairly heavy on the first day of racing we still managed to secure a 2nd place in our group that day which was astounding as we were paired with much quicker 1720 boats and a Viper which rated better than us.

Days 2 and 3 went event better and we pulled in two 1st’s. Day 4 was very light and we found ourselves out-sailed by the faster, better rated boats and we only managed a 5th place for the day. With the weather constantly keeping the fleet on its toes, the racing on Day 5 was cancelled due to a heavy weather system which was due to hit the fleet midway through the racing.

We took this break in our racing to regroup and recouperate by hiring a car and taking a trip around the Island. One crew member wanted to go on the chairlifts at the Needles park which seemed like a great idea until we found ourselves going over the edge of the cliffs in strong 25knot gusts! I am not sure what was more hair-raising… Swinging around on a chairlift or storming downwind on the first day under spinnaker at 13knots!

In any case, a great time was had by one and all and we went in to the 6th day of racing feeling refreshed. It obviously worked for us as we pulled another 2nd place out of the bag. Apart from the obvious celebrations in the beer tent, we also signed up for sports massage at the Spa in Cowes and went back to our ‘crew house’ feeling very merry and relaxed which we would discover was the wrong thing to do as our skipper had a momentary lapse of concentration at the 3rd mark in our 7th day of racing and we ended up in a very messy Port/Starboard conflict which meant that we had to retire.

We decided that rest and recouperation was the WRONG thing to do and got back on the drink in our usual way on the 7th night so as to be fresh and ready for the last day of racing. At this stage, Darwin Property Management (Modified J80) was only 1 point away from us in the scoreboard and we had to stick with them like glue, which is no mean feat when they are a faster boat than us!

That last race was for me, the most tense race of the week, but we managed to keep calm and carry on and romp home with another 2nd place for the week. Darwin Property Management finishing ahead of us, but 5th on handicap.

It was an immensely proud moment when our skipper went up to collect his first prize trophy and we all celebrated in the only way we know how, in the Yacht Haven Beer Tent!