Sun 2 Mar 2008 19:18
50:47.355N 001:07.143W
Ramesh Manickavasagan
02/03/08 How many ways to die when sailing!!!!
After completing the 1st selection weekend, on the 18th Feb 2008 I got an e-mail saying that I was selected for the first leg of sailing to Greenland. It was an exciting moment and could not wait to tell every one in my family and all at work. I got my JI on the 25th saying that I should attend the 29 Feb - 2 Mar for the first of many training weekends at Gosport. Got here on the Friday night, booked in to the accommodation, and met the rest of the crew in the bar for few drinks.
Saturday morning after the breakfast we had a briefing from Richard, I am not going to type the whole brief but to summarise what Richard said,
 "If you don't learn on this weekend you will die,
 If you don't like sailing you will die,
 If you don't do as I tell you will die, 
 If you question me (the Skipper) you will die,
 Any questions?"
So all of us got the gist of what, how and how not to do things on the weekend. Through the day we were shown how to put the main sail up, and how to put 1st, 2nd, and 3rd reefs. I got to know the layout of the yacht "Topside and Down Below" of the Challenge 67.
MJ the First Mate took us through how to put up the Foresail, Trysail, and the Storm sail. This yacht has got a lot of rope on the deck, but the sailors call them all sorts of different names that the rest of the world would not understand. I think they do this so that they can keep the sport to themselves, rather than let any Tom, Dick and Harry call themselves sailors. I learned all the names of the ropes, but still haven't worked out how to spell them.
I was well excited to learn that by the end of the Exped we will be granted Comp Crew if we make the grade, to achieve the standard of a comp crew you should be able to row the tender 50 meters away from the yacht and back and much more. I managed to do this without any drama, but one particular crew member once set off didn't want to come back to the yacht, so MJ and I got in to another tender and went to rescue the crew member who was on her way rowing to France.
To finish off the day we all went and had dinner, and Richard suggested over the dinner that we all meet up in Landers for a team building drink. The first hour went without any dramas, all the crew sat around with their favourite drink and caught up on the days activities. Around 2100 Hrs this young pretty (not) girl came to MJ and whispered in his year, and we were all starting to wonder what she wanted. I found out that she wanted to know if MJ had a girl friend and if not will he go out with her mother. MJ declined the offer, but I suggested to the young pretty (not) girl that she can have a photo taken with MJ if she likes. I have not finished what I was saying she was sitting on MJ's lap with a big grin on her face, MJ looking really scared and I have the incriminating photo which will be here in the near future.
On Sunday morning we were shown how to store the anchor the correct way, and how to climb the mast. I got in the galley and made 13 cups of coffee and tea for the crew as they got on with jobs tasked by Richard.