First event as an alum

Posted by: Don
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Alright, alum-status here we come …
This weekend I finally made it down to Portsmouth to sail the Solent. I joined the elite alumni crew of LBS to race in a regatta of 25 boats – a lot of them from Cranfield as it is their race.
Friday night we had a BBQ and went to bed fairly early to be able to practice a bit before the race. So after a nice shower (gorgeous facilities at the marina) we left Port Solent quite early – Klaus at the helm and Rob as overall skipper. Laura and Richard on the foredeck and Mark and Alex as grinders as well as Ed on the main completed the crew. As I had never raced before and was new to this crew I was made navigator, which in a race is quite fun. I basically had to highlight the course to the helmsman, then input the waypoints into a GPS and tell the helm every half-minute or so where the next buoy is compared to the current course, which speed over ground we are doing and so forth. Additionally you have to be prepared to change any second – everyone who is not doing anything usually is sitting at the high side of the boat, feet and arms over the side, to improve the trim.
The main difference for me was the Spinnaker sailing – very complex to set up but made all the difference. Our early practice paid off and we finished the day winning both races.
The evening dinner was held on board the HMS Warrior – an old and very large former battleship – the first one in the world with a steel hull. We ate between guns and under cutlasses – a great and suiting setting. I have to admit that I went to bed early again – the air and the moving around had exhausted me.
This morning we left with all the boats and went off for another 3 races. The first one showed that we had some competition as we only came in second. By now I had a second job – grind the Spinnaker. I am still not sure if Rob’s reasoning (“I don’t need a thinker, I need a reactor”) was a compliment ;-) but I was happy enough to do it. So I kept jumping back and forth to grind, navigate, be dead-weight and so forth – which was a great workout and great fun. We managed to win both the 4th and the 5th race and came in as a clear winner of the regatta.
So – first event as an alum and it was great!
Tomorrow it is back to reality – up at 5.45 and off to markets training, week 2.
Take care,

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