First day at school

I have come a long way…………. The mad panic to build a trailer and pack up ‘The Potting Shed’ (my pogo 2 ) in the snow in the UK seems such a long time ago.

Today was the first day of mini training on the Mediterranean at CEM (Centre Entreinment Mediteranie) in 10 knots of breeze and bright sunshine, I amused the other French and Italian sailors by sailing in a T shirt – they have no idea the temperatures I left behind in the UK.

Our class is small and mostly series boats and sailors who intend to do the transat next year, three Italians, one French and me. Lessons are conducted primarily in French with the odd smattering of Italian and English thrown in for those who don’t quite get it.

The session today was about manoeuvres, we sailed short courses, tacking hoisting, gybing and dropping, under the critical eye of our coach Paul Meilhat – top French Figaro sailor. The little boat had a good go at showing me who is boss, it is amazing how when under pressure the cockpit floor turns into a snake pit, I hit myself in the face with a winch handle and got numerous smacks on the head from the backstay.

This is the first time I have lined up against any other minis and so was going to be a great indication of how much work I have to do over the next year to get up to speed.

My boat speed in the conditions today seems to be good, manoeuvres alternate between complete farce and reasonably competent. I am definitely lacking consistency. On the whole I came through the day quite pleased with myself – nothing that a lot of practice and some time with a good coach and other sailors can’t make better.

My devois (homework) tonight is to go through the other sailors list of events for manoeuvres and add some comments of my own – the catch is the lists are in French. I have spent the evening sitting with a huge dictionary and managed to produce a list of sailing words that were not in it.

Luckily a French man wandered into the communal kitchen and was able to translate them all for me – his name is Vince, I have no idea where he came from but he has gone again now!

Tomorrow we have a ‘musculation’ session at the gym first thing, the whole class must attend, then we will watch the video and debrief our sailing today – then out on the water.

The forecast is for 25 knots and Paul says he wants to see us with the spinnakers and our focus will be on manoeuvring with the pilot………….. I think I am ready. I guess I will find out tomorrow.

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