I have only been away from our French base in Lorient for a few weeks but it has got bloody cold bloody quick. Fortunately as a sailor I received a tonne of thermals for Christmas from concerned relatives, who will be happy to hear, they are being used daily. The daylight hours are still minimal but we are making the most of each one to get up to speed with our French competitors. These Frenchies have been slowly emerging from the shadows and joining us on the water, obviously worried they’d get left behind as we Brits continue progressing. It has been very nice to have their company though and build in some racing skills into each exercise, certainly increasing the intensity.
The days on the water haven’t been without some upsets however with a major cock up occurring on the very first day. The very first day of training in 2016 with our veteran coach Tanguy, an apparently common French name, who is highly respected by many of the top Figaro sailors. Sailing with Will upwind for at least 2 hours about to make the bear away for a beautiful blast downwind in the 24knots of breeze and we hear a bang followed by a loss of power. Unfortunately the very important main sail had dropped from the top of the mast; the only solution being to climb the rig and re tie the halyard. Not so easy when it’s this halyard you attach to yourself to get up there and an almost impossible task when sailing alone. Luckily Will had done this before and as it turned out to be his fault for poor knot tying, bad seamanship, I allowed him to carry out the potentially life threatening task. Will was able to fix his mistake after an hour up the rig, but he will never regain his pride after such an embarrassing blunder that he has now done twice. And our first impressions with the chief coach aren’t great.
With an increasing number of Figaros training with us on the water each day there is actually a lot of first good first impressions to make. Most of these sailors will be racing against us in the Rookie division and there is an underlying judgement of each other as we decide who’s a threat. Although the official start of this year’s races are months away the races have unofficially started in the head, the race is on.
Pretty glad I don’t have to race these chaps, they might just beat me in that.