Tomorrow at 1300h I will be on the start line of the 2011 Pornichet select, along with 70 other mini boats, and something rather curious has happened………
No, it’s true, I even caught myself singing this afternoon.
Though being ready does not mean that I am relaxed or calm.
This course is billed as the toughest on the mini circuit and I think I believe them; a 300 mile sprint up and down around the rocks and islands on the South Brittany coast. The course crossing over itself many boats going in different directions, not short enough not to sleep but too intense to sleep for a long time; we will be at close quarters with our neighbours through the whole 300 miles and the pressure will be full on.
Being a new comer has not been a problem, everyone is ready with advice, there was a special briefing for the ‘Bizuth’ (first time) sailors, where we were advised on sleeping and eating strategies, the importance of staying in contact with our neighbours and how is we need help we should look to each other before we call the coast guard.
Within minutes of arriving I felt welcome with the other sailors, and part of the community.
The Mediterranean circuit was warm and welcoming but the Atlantic has a different feel, we are part of a bigger family here; an instant way to make friends is to walk around with an open tube of white sikaflex; tools ebb and flood up and down the dock being borrowed between boats, everyone is working together to make the race start, all are welcome and all will help you get there; however I imagine once we get to the start the gloves will be off and it will be a different story.
Officials having been wandering the docks, spot checking series boats, measuring prototypes, sealing liferafts to the boats so we cannot stack them, checking our safety equipment; worried faces pass my bow, scurrying off to make last minute adjustments.
I am filled with nerves and excitement, my first Atlantic race, my first solo race in a mini, the biggest start line I have ever been on, tide, a variable and light forecast, competition!
I can’t write anymore, my mind is jumping all over the place, there are so many things to remember and at the moment I am struggling to visualise what it will be like tomorrow morning.
I know this is going to be one of the most amazing races I have ever taken part in.
Right now the Atlantic is an emerald green; the long sandy beaches stretch all around the bay to La Baule and another tranquil evening greets the French holiday makers.
Tomorrow will be an explosion, and there will be a little red boat with a very nervous girl somewhere in the middle of it. Follow me on my tracker here http://www.ecoledevoilecnbpp.fr/pornichet-select-650-course-en-direct