Flying kites on Level 3 training

“Want to sail the world, follow a map to it’s edge and keep going, adventure will be my guide, courage my companion, I’ll cross hemispheres, chase unfamiliar stars, fortitude be my quest, this will be the race of my life” is what is printed on the coffee cups at the Clipper Race Advanced safety course. As with all things I like, coffee is the best way to start anything.

Chris Kobusch was our skipper and led the safety lecture session as well, fantastically interesting and this course was the last he did before heading off to Cape Town on his next mission to skipper in the Antarctic for three seasons on scientific expeditions. He had skippered the 17-2018 race on Sanya and was a wealth of knowledge, entertaining and fun to crew for. Gavin and Jim our Mates were made of the right stuff, with Gavin also having Clipper experience.

A break for lunch led us to the waterfront and following Tripadvisor’s recommendation found some of us at the Victualler. I tried the Rekorderlig rhubarb cider for the first time and rate it my favourite thus far.

Scott, Mark and Ben ordering lunch

We had amongst us a tall and strapping chinese chap, Ming, having had Clipper experience as a media representative for his sponsor on the previous race, his skill with camera and video is extraordinary and enticing. TC and Tim were with us and shared our Level 2 training together, Rick was the only member of our race crew on board, good to see again after meeting him at the crew allocation event earlier this month. Brian and Mark represented Canada, Jasper and Ben Germany, Julie Australia, Karolina Sweden. Jodie, Ian, Scott, Nigel the UK. Guy our race skipper acting on the knowledge that I’d be training on Unicef looked me up the next morning making me feel like royalty with a friendly and encouraging greeting.

Driving again

The first day’s sailing comprised going over all the “white sail” evolutions consisting of tacking, gybing, reefing and racing headsail changes. That night found us moored up on the pontoons and back in the Anchor Inn in Cowes for after dinner G&T’s.

Up the mast

The following days were spent having timed races in teams of two, taking in reefs and shaking them out, finally succeeding at around two minutes, hoisting and gybing spinnakers as well as laboriously wooling them below deck.

Letter boxing the spinnaker

When dropping the spinnaker we post it between the mainsail foot and boom in the wind shadow of the main, hence to “letterbox” them. We use papa, mama and baby bears to bearhug the sail to stop reinflation and a squirrel below in the companionway to gather it in. Once below every inch of floor space is used to ensure that it’s not twisted and each edge is rolled up and wooled before packing away in it’s sail bag

Back at the Castle Tavern

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