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Lancelot - Myth of Malham - Reflections from Alastair Whall

My personal prediction before this training race was that there would probably be some blood, definitely sweat and perhaps some tears. The Club racing I am used to is like infant school compared with RORC racing. A considerable step up for me and an entirely new boat to learn as well. Some of the character in the crew has started to emerge.

 

The high standard required just to perform adequately makes me feel desperately sorry for Philippe and his crew to have a fractured mast snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

 

Dominik had a fairly bruising time as well. Huge thanks to Stacy for the video. And there is Dominik, indomitable, grinning from ear to ear.

 

We also owe a huge thanks to Captain Jack O'Sparrer. He is brave to the point of being foolhardy to take us out to play in a cold heavy wind gusting over thirty knots. 

 

The yacht with the huge black spinnaker who went by as though we were standing still shows us where we would need to be, t o have a chance to get amongst the choccies. She broached at least twice when close by, sorted herself out and spinnakered on. 

 

Our current level of fitness and training made white sails the only sensible option with the advantage of being to sail dead downwind in relative safety. But we have plenty of potential helms on board, we just need the chance to practice. And if you think you are not fit enough you probably aren't. You owe it to the rest of the team to do something about it.

 

Alex said "On Tuesday morning people will be carrying on the conversation they left on Friday afternoon. They will not understand I have forgotten all about it. I have been out there just trying to hang on." Or words to that effect. 

 

In perspective all the yachts had issues, or they wernt trying hard enough. Plenty of broaches. Someone even went swimming.

 

It is highly knackering just hanging on, no where comfortable to sit, cold and wet upwind and a roller coaster ride downwind.

 

I just loved it. I particularly like the bit when you snuggle into your pit, fully clothed, lifejacket to hand, two and a half glorious hours. Then back on deck to play. Our Yacht is just a large racing dinghy really. 

 

Downwind. On the helm. Crew weight aft. As a wave arrives you look downhill as though the bow wanted to pierce the sea. Helm hard on as she kicks to the left, take it off real quick. If you dare, and plenty did, dead downwind. Soft hands. 

 

Get it right and the sea starts to fizz and bubble. The acceleration is noticeable, the speedo lags far behind. Jacko. 19 knots. Line up the next one. Oh damn, got a big wobble on. Don't you just hate it when that happens ?

 

Get it wrong, allow her to round up, the apparent builds. Oops, over we go. If you are on the low side scamble up quick before your boots fill. 

 

" Let go the vang. " And so it carries on.

 

Stacy knows. James too. Dominik, was that you ? Man of the match for a complete all round performance. Keith perhaps ? 

 

It is very civilising to have ladies on board. I particularly single out Alice for her powers of concentration.

 

Quite apart from his banter and all round strength Conrad, like Mr Kipling, gives exceedingly good mainsail trim.

 

Gareth is just a machine, ceaseless, everywhere, my guardian, everyone should have one. Actually I think there may be two of him on board.

 

Man of the match ? To be fair, Jacko of course.

 

Me ? I haven't had so much fun for a long time !

 

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