It’s all go here. Somehow I only have five more months left of work.
I spent last week in the Solent as a volunteer watch leader on Challenger 2 with the Tall Ships Youth Trust. Skipper was Sue Geary and we had a number of 16-25 year olds on board for a Competent Crew course. The weather was rather unexciting – we spent a lot of time motorsailing – but it was a very useful week in terms of becoming familiar with the watch leader roles and responsibilities – something I would like to do for at least one leg on the race.
I am watch leading for another of their young person courses in April, and have had a lot of fun with the Tall Ships Youth Trust in 2015’s Fastnet Race too.
This trip was on one of the old Challenge 72s – which used to take part in the BT Global Challenge yacht race before the company went into administration – so they are of a similar size and style to the Clipper race boats, although with some important differences:
- Built in 2000 as opposed to the current Clipper 70s which first sailed in the 2013 race.
- Steel hull, instead of the lighter foam reinforced plastic (FRP) of the Clipper 70s.
- Hull & rig designed to sail against the wind, instead of with the wind. This is a fairly important difference, and makes a lot of difference in terms of speed and handling at different points of sail.
The day before this trip I passed the Marine Radio (SRC) Course, which is a prerequisite for the Yachtmaster qualification. Whether I’ll go for my Yachtmaster before or after the race is still to be decided, but at least I have most of the essential prerequisities sorted!
Finally, due to visa requirements, I’ve had to cancel a sailing trip in favour of an essential trip to the US embassy in London for a visa interview. I can only test the patience of my long-time employers Met Geo Environmental so far…