The trip around the Island.
Saturday the Seventh of June.
The third weekend of sail training out of two. I was originally a reserve for the other crew, so did one weekend with them. This is the final polish on our skills before the big trip. The day started nervously for me. I had arrived last night, but hadn't seen any one else from the crew. I didn't start worrying until breakfast, which is normally when everyone meets up. It was a nine o'clock start and I didn't see anyone until eight. As the time approached more people appeared and then we started to prepare for sea.
The day was fair, with the sun shining and enough wind to make sail. We split into two watches, and once again I was on Andy watch. However this time we had three Andy's with Emma & Louise. We took the foredeck and the other watch were doing the Main sail. We left Gosport and turned left and headed into the Solent. The good weather had brought out hundreds of other boats, so it was all hands to watch out for possible problems from collisions. It was against the wind so we tacked through the fleets of yachts and basked in the glorious sunshine, when not tacking the boat every five or ten minutes. as we had also raised the stay sail, there were three winches to release and three to tighten on each turn. Lunch was prepared by the other watch, and gratefully received. Going through the channel by the Needles was stimulating, as it is surprisingly narrow. Turning the corner, we ran down the outside of the Isle of Wight to St. Catherine's Head, the most southerly point. I was given a chance to helm.
Unfortunately the motion of the yacht was unpleasant and with the waves rolling along in the same direction the boat started to 'Corkscrew' going up and down and side to side. A few people were susceptible and strangely all three of them were on my watch. To take our minds off the sickness, Richard the skipper decided to get us to change the foresail. All was going well, apart from our Watchleader preparing to release the Main Halyard, instead of the foresail halyard. After dropping the sail, folding it and then raising it again, we tidied up the rope farm. As we made our way back to the cockpit, the other watch had once again prepared a meal. It's probably a poor reflection on my home life, but I eat better at sea than I do at home. Tonight was Thai green curry chicken with rice (not too much, as Greg wasn't cooking it) with Naan breads and Onion bhajis. Even those suffering from the motion managed to eat a bowlful and enjoy it. Everyone seems confident about the big trip and morale is high. Looking back to the selection weekend, I realise how much we have learnt so far, and what seemed big, scary and an almost impossible challenge then, is now still a challenge, but one that the team can complete.
Andy M (Sig Macham)