Poles in the Solent

Sun 8 Jun 2008 12:24

Not a reference to cold places in the North and South, or people of East European origin, but to the deployment of Spinnaker poles and all the associated knitting and spaghetti: essential training for those on Leg 2 of Ex Midnight Sun, who should find themselves doing plenty downwind sailing.


The usual walk-through talk-through took place alongside, before both watches had a go.  Pole lifted out by each foursome, and deployed perpendicular to the mast, uplift attached and secured, followed by the guy and down ropes, checking the latter was under the foresail sheets (“don’t say fore sale” says Paul “you sound like a used car salesman”), everything winched on and ready to go and the pole lifted at the boom end.   Pulled in on the uplift and then with tight coordination on the winches the pole was swung round very carefully to Port, making sure not to damage the nice little boats moored next us.  Then it was take it all down and stow away before putting to sea and heading for the Solent.


Before long we were deploying the pole again, and this time attaching the fore sale so more spaghetti to watch out for.  First the A Team of Kev, Tom, Greg, Eddie and myself had a go, before handing over to the Andy watch, of Andy M, Andy W, Andy (it’s my birthday) R, Louise and Emma. It actually looked pretty impressive and well worth the effort.


Having said that myself and Andy Whitmore – is that Andy 1, 2 or 3 are on leg 1, so don’t expect to put this rig into practice, but still you can’t complain, messing about on the water, lovely sunshine and everyone starting to turn varying shades of pink.  If all else fails, Kev can deploy his shiny solar panel and power us back into Gosport, at the end of another great weekend of sail training and the last before we head off for real on the expedition.


It’s been an interesting weekend, getting used to and working with a whole new set of people which just adds to the experience.  Next time I see the Leg 2 crew we’ll be doing HOTO in Greenland, but for now it’s roll on 28th July when I’ll be reunited with my Leg 1 crewmates and all set for the trip of a lifetime!


Linda Smith