Though this week has been incredibly productive for my training, I have still been suffering from having no other mini’s to sail against in the Solent so I was over the moon to receive a message from Jake Jefferis and news that after recovering from a back injury he is just about fit enough now to come sailing.
I met Jake first at the Southampton Boatshow last year, it was just after English Braids had agreed to sponsor me with rope for my campaign.
Jake has designed and built his own prototype, all carbon with a canting keel, in his back garden in Bosham. He has funded all himself and made all himself, even to the extent that when he broke the Aluminium mast he had taken off an old Mills prototype, and he did not have the funds to buy a new mast, he built himself a new one out of carbon.
As I had just had my boat completely re-roped with English Briads and I knew that he did not have the funds to buy new rope for his new mast, Jake left the show with carrier bags full of the ropes I had taken off, which are now part of the running rigging on ‘Mad Dog’.
Yesterday afternoon, I drove with Guillaume Rotee, who has been coaching me for the last week in the Solent, to a leafy garden off Chichester harbour to take a first look at this crazy beast that is mini 794.
The first thing I saw in the garden was Blue 2, which is an old Mills design that was built by my friend Paul Peggs – the mini world is small!!
On the slipway was an all black, full on looking carbon mini, which was pretty different from my little red boat; a truly distant cousin with little family resemblance but the give away characteristics of being only 6.5m long with a stupidly tall mast.
It was great to see the boat and though it is different to mine, it will be invaluable to go out on the water and train together; to line up against each other and compare relative speeds and course; to make little adjustments and see what relative change they have.
We have agreed to two boat train this week and will be competing in the Double handed round the island race next weekend; racing the boats under the IRC rule will be painful as we are rated the same as some 40fters, but to us the others are irrelevant – there will only be two boats in this race.