Breakfast was quite amazing. I don’t mean the quality of the food or the choice on display, more the quantity. Breakfast was quite simply a bacon roll and the only choice was white or wholemeal bread; red or brown sauce; tea or coffee. Nothing wrong in that; a bacon roll is a great way to start a day.
But the rolls never stopped coming! I have never seen so many rolls piled quite so high on trays being carried in. I know there were over 400 of us taking part in the regatta, but the caterers must have provided enough rolls for us all to have 4 each! We didn’t, and I suspect the pile thrown away would have been big enough to cater for us.
Over breakfast came the briefing for the day. Whilst sitting waiting, I became aware of a cleavage in the peripheral vision of my left eye. I was avoiding a glance towards it for several minutes, but the trouble was it was at eye level. Even though I was sitting down, the cleavage was the same level as my eyes.
It was no good; I had to glance to see who the owner of such a low cleavage was. Was the woman in question very short or was it a tall man with a bit of a builder’s bum?
I was desperately hoping it was not the latter!
Slight relief, it was the former. I say slight relief because it did belong to a short woman, but it wasn’t her chest cleavage and she didn’t have a builder’s bum. It was a type of cleavage I had never before seen. It was her back.
That’s right, she was standing close to me with her back to me and her outfit was so tight, it was giving her a large cleavage down her back. I thought I was glad I had finished my bacon roll! 😉
Breakfast and briefing done, it was time to go to our boats for a spot of sailing.
Having been introduced to our skipper formally, and made our apologies for the previous night, we donned our life jackets and set off down the channel towards the Isle Of Wight. On route the skipper gave us a crash course on sailing and a history lesson on boating terms and sayings and the surrounding area.
We reached the start line for the first race. Main sail hoisted along with the one at the pointy end, we were all given our duties and readied ourselves for the off. I was in charge of the main sail. I thought it would be the safest place for me being someone who is prone to accidents.
At least from my position on the boat, I couldn’t be clobbered by the boom and knocked overboard as it swung across deck. I could of course have knocked others overboard with my over zealous winding of the winch!
So with coordinates set, engine switched off, we waited for the starting signal. When it came the start was quite chaotic. There was confusion all around as some skippers, including ours, thought they heard the race director call the start off, but many carried on. So the race was on, which put us down the field a bit. If you can be down the field when at sea!
And the chaos didn’t subside. If you have ever driven round the Arc de Triumph in Paris, you’ll know what chaos is. Now imagine sixty boats with novice crews all trying to use the power of the wind to get over the start line and head towards the first marker and you’ll think that negotiating the Arc de Triumph was simplicity itself!
Safely over the start line and heading away towards the first marker we were able to appreciate the art of sailing. Next up though was the turning marker, and despite the fact that the boats had by now been separated because some hadn’t managed to tack through the wind that well, we were suddenly presented with another hairy moment. Several boats all trying to squeeze round the marker and head back towards the finish line.
Our skipper hadn’t wanted to use the spinnaker because we were all unfamiliar with sailing. For those, like me, who don’t know much about boats, a spinnaker is the kite like sail which is hoisted at the pointy end of the boat to assist in catching the wind.
As we rounded the marker, it became very apparent that we wouldn’t get very far if we didn’t deploy the spinnaker. So, reluctantly, the skipper let us use it. I have to say he was very impressed with how well we got it to work, and we were soon passing several boats.
We were climbing through the field looking set for a decent finishing position when disaster struck. It wasn’t a disaster that was to strike only us, but 45 of the 60 boats in the race. No one capsized or ran aground; the disaster was that the wind just dropped.
We just floated on the water waiting for the wind to pick up. Meanwhile a few of the boats had made it close enough to the finish line to drift over. In a race like this, once the first boat has crossed the finish line, all other boats are given thirty minutes to complete the course or forfeit the race.
The wind never returned!
We drifted for the next thirty minutes until the race was declared over and then started our engine to head back for the next race. A race which was never to come.
There just wasn’t enough wind for anything.
It was a disappointing end to a day of sailing, but we all had a great time.