Two Pips are better than one….

Round the World Sailor Phillippa Hutton-Squire has confirmed her entry and announced her co-skipper for this year’s Normandy Channel Race.

Phillippa placed 3rd in last years Global Ocean Race will be campaigning her Class 40 (Akilara 1), Phesheya Racing this year in several events and has chosen to kick off the season with British mini transat sailor Pip Hare.

The Pip’s first met in 2010 when competing in the Two Handed Round Britain and Ireland Race, where Phillippa finished 4th in the Class 40 fleet and Pip won IRC overall. They have kept in touch ever since, while sailing an impressive 55,000 miles between them over the intervening years.

This will be the first time Phillippa and Pip have sailed together and they have picked perhaps one of the most technically demanding races on the Class 40 calendar; the course for the Normandy Channel Race makes a tour of the English Channel and Southern Irish coast, taking in notorious tidal traps and races amid the back drop of volatile meteorology and local effects.

For Pip, placed 17th series class in the 2011 mini transat, there will be the added challenge of the first time racing in the Class 40. Pip commented, ‘I am really excited to be racing with Phillippa but it is going to be one hell of a challenge. I have coached Class 40 sailors before but have not raced in this class; we need to cram a lot of practice into a short work up to the race. But Phillippa knows the boat intimately, and I know theEnglish Channelintimately so our skills should compliment each other and I am sure we will get better as a team every hour we sail together.’

Phillippa said, ‘This is my first race of the season, indeed since finishing the Global Ocean Race and my first race without Nick Leggatt on board. I am really looking forward to racing Phesheya again and racing with Pip is going to be a real privilege. I think we both have a lot to bring to the team.’

The Normandy Channel Race (www.normandy-race.com) starts on 14th April fromCaen. You can follow the race via www.pipoceanracing.com

 

Splash !

If a boat gets launched but you are not there to see it does it still make a splash?

 

 

Well apparently so as my mini hit the water again today all managed by my co-skipper for the mini Fastnet Phil Stubbs.

 

March has been a challenge I am not alone in thinking that I know. Preparation to the boat has been slow, stalled by weather too cold to make repairs outside and to paint and a proper dose of the flu which not only put me off boat work but also stopped me from competing in a 20 mile off road running race which was part of the training regime for the three peaks later in the year.

 

Last weekend in Poole the temperature did not creep above three degrees and was probably less in the wind chill but I was determined to finish my pre season preparation and spent a horrible day under my boat with icy cold water running from numb sausage fingers, down my sleeve and soaking through jumpers and thermals.

 

Yes it was that wet sanding time again; just to prove that solo sailing is not all about hurtling down enormous waves with the sun on your back and dolphins on the bow. We have to take the rough with the smooth and last weekend certainly was rough.

 

But of course I am a great believer in getting back what you put in so my rough has been translated to a super smooth 400 grit bottom (thanks again to the wonder Flag Finishes) and oh YES….. we are going SAILING!!!!

 

 

 

 

Bringing it Back Home

Spring has sprung (sort of) and despite the ongoing snow it is time to talk minis again.

 

I have been quiet for a while; blog free over the end of the last year, mainly due to the fact I was not doing any mini sailing.

 

As regular subscribers to my blog will know last year I decided to station my boat in Lorient France, to be at the heart of the single-handed sailing capital and benefit from the coaching and the camaraderie that follows when 60 odd minis are all parked in the same place.

 

The first part of the year went amazingly well. I had borrowed a little more money and with the continued support of associate sponsor Sunsail UK, I was able to spend two months in France, living in my van, training and sailing full time and learning more than I could have dreamed.

 

But like all good dreams, eventually one must wake up to reality and that of course comes in the form of bills and the cost of every day living; Still battling to pay off debts from my last transat and as a self employed sailing instructor the status quo was not sustainable so I hung up my sailing boots and put my head down to work.

 

Something had to change, my boat was inFrancewhere there was lots of mini sailing to be had and it was cheap to keep; but I never saw it, not managing to take any time off between jobs or justify not working.

 

In November a possible solution presented itself over the internet and I applied and got a job with the RNLI, designing and trialling products to help save lives at sea.

 

So this year I am bringing it home. I have bought ‘The Potting Shed’ back toUKwaters, she is based inPoolenot 10 minutes from my desk at RNLI HQ and from here I will be training for the mini transat.

 

We have a lot to offer in theUK(ignoring the extortionate mooring fees). These are challenging waters to sail in and sailing fromPooleHarbour, theEnglish Channelis right on my doorstep with all its waves, tidal gates and ever changing moods so I couldn’t be better placed.

 

Of course I will miss having other mini’s to line up against but come April I hope to join the British training session in the Solent, rubbing shoulders with our other crazy sailors of small boats.

 

In the meantime I look over my shoulder out of the window at the rain hammering down inPooletoday. My mission this weekend is to wet sand the bottom after a fresh new coat of ‘Flag Performance Extra’ and get the mast up.

 

It’s raining hard, and it’s cold; but there’s no point in hiding, it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get wet again.