Practice Day

It has been breezy all day today and tomorrow will be the same.  The wind is forecast to be 20 kts and the seas will be lumpy – judging by today’s practice it is going to be a bumpy ride.

Today was my first sail on board Taz, Bernie Evan Wong’s Reichel Pugh 37, and the first time our crew has sailed together.

Taz is the kind of boat that makes you grin from ear to ear sailing downwind; she is light (with a carbon hull), has a big sail area and is responsive.  Half of the crew on board for the Caribbean 600 have sailed together on Taz and half have not so one afternoon of practice felt a little pressured to pull the crew together ready for the race.

It is amazing really how a group of people that do not all know each other can combine in a common activity, find a working relationship and get stuff done.

We tacked our way upwind, winding through the waves keeping the boat powered up and practicing tacking and our upwind positions. The first kite hoist went remarkably well and in a blink we had shot off what seemed a disproportionate amount downwind.

The boat was tweaked and cajoled and slowly we managed to find our feet as a crew arriving back at the dock a good deal wiser than when we left and not a cross word uttered.

The thing I love about offshore racing is that over time everyone will be able to come into their own; today was about watching and learning for me and I feel a little more prepared this morning for the race ahead.  Over time I look forward to working with the rest of our crew and offering something new into the mix.

The wind outside my hotel room has whipped up to a frenzy and the rain is lashing down as an aggressive little cloud passes over the top of Falmouth harbour.  It is 21.15 at night and there is music outside but no raging party like the night before; instead people are quietly finishing drinks and meals and heading back home for an early night before we hit a windy Caribbean tomorrow.

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