So the Jubilee bank holiday came at the perfect time, It was just around the RORC Myth of Malham race which meant there was only one thing to do ... pack my bag the night before and drive down to the south coast for some yacht racing.
I was invited to take part on Telefonica Black which is a Volvo 70 stripped out racing machine with no comforts!
Here are the pipe cots where you sleep when you're not on watch, or if we are sleeping on the boat in the marina. I think I mentioned somewhere in my about section that I am not from a sailing background...so my mum's response to me saying we slept in 'pipe cots' was "OMG you sleep in pipes!" Haha no mum we do not sleep in pipes..but they aren't the most luxurious of beds, this is a racing yacht! Great for keeping the boat light though, and when you're exhausted you will sleep just about anywhere.
I arrived late so had a drink with the crew at a local bar in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth then we got an early night prior to the race day.
Our start time was afternoon so we left the dock at 9:30am to get in some start line practice and wind angles to see which sails to use. There was a bit of debate as to which sails to get up and we prepared them on deck for hoisting. Unfortunately we had an issue with the furling of one of the sails so had to drop it and furl it back by hand and to make matters worse the A3 sail was blown! Despite these unfortunate events we carried on but did lose some precious time. The breeze was consistent though, although veering slightly but we were making good progress and excited.
It was a sunshine kind of sailing day and we all had great fun, we were speedy, the sky was turquoise blue and the sea just looked mesmerising with the bow wave creating white sparkling water...like crushed diamonds with the sun glaring down. We were expecting to reach the Eddystone Lighthouse our halfway point at around 2am in the middle of the night!
For dinner that night I had Mac and Cheese and also made a few rounds of tea and coffees for the crew.... galley girl at your service.
Oh and when I say I had Mac and Cheese it was freeze dried but you know what freeze dried food isn't that bad, Oh and it's hot which is just what you need on a chilly night!
We had a great laugh and some jokes were thrown around so everyone was in good spirits, after dinner it was time for our watch to head for some sleep on those bunks so Alex, James, Adam, Charlie and I headed for kip whilst the others stayed up to sail the boat. There is something quite relaxing about doing nothing with your eyes closed and hearing the sounds of the winches and people working through the night. Although we knew we would be woken halfway through our time off for the manoeuvres at the lighthouse....plus, we all wanted to see the lighthouse.
It ended up being more like 3am at the lighthouse and it seemed as though the wind was dropping off. There was some incredible bioluminescence and dolphins in the middle of the night which was magical these are the moments that just get me coming back for more and more! The sun rose beautifully and at breakfast we were all talking about being in Cowes and having fish and chips for dinner, being back by 6pm and having some beers. This was until at one point we had been sailing for over 2 hours and made zero progress. At this point the anchor was brought on deck and we considered kedging...which means dropping the anchor to stop going in the wrong direction.
It was then the reality set in we could be out here until midnight or longer.. no fish and chips on the cards. Everyone was in good spirits though and we had a beautiful sunset.
Later on in the evening we decided to have our freeze-dried meals again- I opted for a chicken curry, not sure how but I managed to spill it all over myself but Ben one of the crew mates brought me a bucket of sea water to wash it off the deck and myself! I also made another round of drinks for everyone and went to check the chart plotter! The wind was filling in and in the evening it went from virtually zero wind to 20 knots of breeze...
It was starting to get a bit chilly towards 9pm and it started raining too! We were all wondering what time we would make the finish.
We ended up crossing the line at 23:00 hours and were 8th across the line. It was great to finish with wind and when we finally got there it felt as though the lights on Cowes were welcoming us....we were all thinking the same thing..would we make it for a beer?
Once the boat was safely alongside the pontoon and fenders in place we had to rush to the pub it was nearly 1:00am at this point so to Victor's we went!
We made our way with haste to the pub in full offshore kit because it was chucking it down and subsequently ordered a 'few' drinks....pictured above. There may or may not have been shots involved and a few more rounds but what's sailing without a bit of social after a long race!
We all really enjoyed the trip and sail back to Portsmouth the next day, Lance and Claire were great with everyone onboard and it was a fantastic experience! You can follow their next adventures as they are due to go Round Ireland next!
If you want to watch my VLOG of this trip you can find it on my YouTube channel Beyond the Boyes or check out the Videos page on my blog for more content!