Normandy Channel Race – The Start


It’s great to be back. The race village is buzzing with people, the 21 class 40s are lined up obediently in the old dock in central Caen, the commentator drones quietly in the back ground and all the amazing electricity created at the start of short handed offshore race is charging the atmosphere.


It’s been different for me, to be a co-skipper; to turn up late in the day to a boat that is already sorted and not feel the weight of the million and one non-sailing things to do before a race start.


Instead I arrived on Friday to a sorted boat sitting in a fully functioning race village; yes we’ve had a few jobs to do but nothing major and Phillippa and I have spent the last couple of days working on navigation, I’ve been learning to use the systems onboard the boat and we have generally been paying attention to the details with the big stuff done. What a pleasure.


And so we start today, at 11.45 we will leave the dock, line up with the other competitors and make a 1 hr procession out of the town of Caen and down the canal to Ouistreham to then lock out for our start at 17h00 tonight.


I don’t think I’m nervous; in truth I have no idea what to expect. With only three days of practice on the boat and never having sailed overnight with Pip we will be taking it as it comes and gently upping the pace as we go along.


The course is great, second best only to crossing a massive ocean it will be challenging and busy and the sort of challenge I relish.


I have walked the course on paper charts and on the computer, reviewed the tidal gates and monitored the weather. According to the routing we will see some breeze later this week and inside I am jumping up and down about this and grinning already, imagining roaring down the front of waves with a rooster tail behind…..


But maybe I am ahead of myself.


For now I must come back to the matter in hand, Pip is on deck rigging the lines, I am at the nav station (a massive step up from a soggy chart on my lap in the mini) and we think we are ready to race.


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