Well, seeing as I was a little slow in starting this blog, I am just going to have to start going a little back in time to fill in the gaps!! Italy, Sweden, Holland, Lisbon, UK. Just another month…
I started with Lake Garda (the Riva end) attending Foiling Week as an Ambassador for the Magenta Project, as well as it being a great excuse to do a little foiling! The scenery is simply stunning, towering cliffs down to the waters edge – Garda is 100% my favourite place in Europe, if you have not been, there I suggest you go!
The sailing was pretty cool, I tried out some Waszp‘s, the iFly15, got a quick go in a completely pimped out Moth and also a sail on the F101, I wished I got a sail on an A-Class though as I quite like the idea of flying and also not hiking, maybe one day when I have income again I can have a toy collection!! But even cooler than the sailing was meeting an awesome lady, who was also there representing Magenta, Josie Gliddon, who although tiny (has a very cool cut down rig for windy weather in her Moth) is a woman I don’t think I would win an argument with, tough!! She is a rather handy moth sailor and also runs the finance division of North Sails in Northern Europe. I find it extremely useful to talk with people who have stepped out of the sailing life, different perspectives are hard to find if you only hang around with career sailors (and plus, most of them are guys, and lets be honest, the rules for them are different). We had some great conversations about life while watching the most awesome lightning storms over the lake at night. Who needs TV when you have thunder and lightning!! ⚡
From there it was to Sweden, to coach PJ and his boys on Sailing Team NL at the M32 World Championships for a few days before I was off to Lisbon to start my trial with Brunel the most recently announced VOR team.
This trial was exactly what I had been waiting for all year, since making a decision last year – Hmm about that, I can’t actually quite pin point when that was, and exactly why I decided to try and do this.. and I have continued to believe I am rather nuts for trying to do such a thing. Anyway, meeting some of the team and getting into training in Lisbon was a jump in the deep end, I had spent some time on the VO65 boat before, but after spending the first two days simply grinding and lifting heavy sails, I was a bit over it. I ain’t the biggest person out there, and the idea of me single handedly grinding in the jib was just not effective. Luckily this was noticed and I started to learn the pit which was a lot more fun: The pitman looks after all the ropes at the front of the cockpit, the halyards – running the hoists, the furls, the drops and the reefs, as well as the boards. It gets pretty hectic and can get rather tangled if you don’t keep track of things and think about your next move early, and which winches you will need freed up! Luckily I had the brilliant Annie Lush next to me in the boat, and well, she’s just a legend and pretty much knows it all!
I had a bit of an accident on one of the first days training, when the FRO (fractional front sail = big) was hoisted and unfurled itself in 25 knots before we were ready. My left leg happened to be in the way of the rope, and I was lucky not too do more damage than the rather deep, zebra style, stripe rope burn I ended up with. It took about three weeks to close over, so the next two offshore’s I did involved plenty of Nurofen, a very tough sticky dressing (Thanks to the advice of my ACE medical team back in NZ, Lou thats you!) and just hoping I didn’t get it wet. Just because going offshore is not uncomfortable enough at the best of times!
Our first offshore was a delivery up to Gosport in the UK, it went pretty smoothly, the first two days was bashing our way upwind in 20-30 knots, not ideal, and I do seem to have a ‘first night at sea’ throwing up problem. It always settles, but the first night is not fun. Getting to Gosport, I was pretty mixed again, there were parts of the trip I had enjoyed, the open sea, the sunrises & sunsets, the sending the boat down waves aspects of things, but most of it was pretty horrible… You are wet, slightly cold, sleep deprived, and continually having lift sails and stack all the bags downstairs. Which I do think, at my size is definitely harder than it is for the bigger guys. Compared to the people named so far in the team, I am a good 15kg lighter than all of them, and up to 45kg less than the big guys! So when I get yelled at to “Come on, just lift it!!” it gets a old pretty quick… I am pretty sure if they were 64kg they wouldn’t be able to lift it either! As Polly & PJ probably know best, I am not the best at taking snappy feedback 🙂
So I ended July in Gosport – sorry UK, but not one of my favourite places especially as it rained every damn day!! And as is now the norm, ended the month a little unsure of what was next…