Friday started with us rigging the boat and then sitting our exam.
I must admit that on the last question I started to expand my answers beyond all necessity. The question asked what to do if the skipper was severely burnt in the galley, and was probably hoping for answers on first aid and emergency drills – I got a tad carried away and ran with almost all scenarios we could hope for – I assumed the boat sank and we all had to get into life rafts (- did you know that if you get in the life boat you need to urinate within 20 minutes to reduce the chance of shock), I had her evacuated by high line transfer (I finally got the dope on a rope without tying the line to the boat), I even worked out who would take over from the skipper – I was tempted to go for elections but I figured the examiner would think I was not being serious!
After the exam we went to the Pumphouse and got bacon sandwiches all round – a lovely treat before heading off to Cowes for the evening. We were told to phone ahead to smooth the ordering process as we had to wait 15 minutes for the sandwiches to be ready (which we did not think was too bad!)
We arranged for three other races that day with the other boat – they were not happy about our winning the day before. The first involved a “Le Mans” start and then a short race – unfortunately we blew our start and the race was lost – that was the problem with short races –it can be almost impossible to claw back a slow start.
The second race was a triangular course with a man over board thrown in after a 5 minute start – that is we count down to five minutes before the start and then sail through the line at or after the five minutes is up – getting to the line before the start results in having to go back round again.
We were about 20 seconds behind them over the line so they took a good lead, but as we rounded the first buoy we did out man overboard – it was exceptionally good and we managed to get both the casualty and the Dan buoy back on board in one pass – previously we had been using the Dan buoy as a second casualty to help us get the drill correct but this time we fish-hooked the buoy up and we were away.
At the second buoy the other boat did their drill and we were lucky enough to be able to watch the whole thing – that was important because they turned out be 'little tinkers'.
On their drill they forget to drop a life buoy over board (making it easier to get away) which in itself is grounds for disqualification. But then when trying to raise the headsails after picking up the casualty they forgot to switch off the engine and they managed to get a decent lead on us.
It was not even subtle -0we could all hear the thing motoring and sailing at such a rate of knots with the main sheeted right in and the headsail on the deck went against the laws of physics. We got to the end of the race and the other skipper asked if we were happy to concede they had won the race – we waited till we were alongside and could see his face before suggesting we had some doubts – Ian described the moment best – “'he smirk on his face had been last seen when asking a five year old boy with chocolate all round his face if he had been in the cookie jar!'
The third race was longer and was perfect for another spinnaker run – it would involve repacking the thing in 15 minutes but we were confident we could do it. However the other boat had other ideas and insisted on just white sails (headsails and stay sail rather than the spinnaker) – skipper decided this was because they were scared of us under spinnakers, but that was no consolation for the fact that hey got to once again chose the race.
Once again we had a thrilling race and tactics played a huge part throughout. They overran the start and had to go full circle, they then caught back up with a superb choice of course – at the end we were becalmed 100 metres from the end as they went over the line, although they had been becalmed just before. The other boat had an Arch Deacon on board, and we decided they had called upon divine intervention to ensure they won – so in our minds we discounted that race result also.
That evening “Pete Mate” gave us a de-brief – the pep talk involved trying to get us happier about losing all three races that day – and it involved an analogy about dogs chasing rabbits – the punch-line was that by winning the race on the first day “we had all tasted fur” – which reduced us all to fits of giggles.
Anyway after finishing the personal de-briefs for the day we were able to persuade the skipper to postpone the lecture that evening (it was 10.30pm already) until the morning, so we could get to the pub, where further discussion on tasting fur ensued.