It’s the morning of the Solent650; my first solo mini race of the year.
Amazingly for a May bank holiday the sun is shining but the penalty to pay for this weather is a lack of wind which according to the latest forecast will see the fleet drifting around off the Jurassic coast for most of Monday.
I have definitely enjoyed the benefits of competing on home turf; getting the boat ready to race has been a day time exercise, based from home and with all the things I need to hand. It’s quite a contrast to turning up with a trailer and a van full of tools and I even had time to wash the boat yesterday which I found very therapeutic.
However all that feeling of serene preparation is gone this morning and I am dogged by my usual race nerves.
It’s strange how the mind will trip you up and I have got used to mine racing overtime before the start of a race, tripping over itself to inform me of all the things I could have done, all the possible outcomes and trying to make me change well found decisions made days before.
This morning is no exception and I have a bus and train ride to get to Lymington to start the race which means plenty of time to stew.
The course for the Solent 650 is reminiscent of the Normandy Channel race I did a couple of weeks ago; start from Lymington, around the Isle of Wight, into Poole Bay and then past numerous headlands and tidal gates down to Lands End where we turn around Wolf Rock and head into Plymouth.
I know this coast and I know how mean it can be, if there is a lot of wind then overfalls are viscous and can be boat breakers, but without wind you could be battling for hours to make fractions of a mile headway against theEnglish Channeltide.
I need to keep my wits about me and my head straight to line up against this coastline. Although I feel the nerves now, I know once I get out there it will fade away. After all, it’s just me, my boat and the sea and this is what I dream of.