We had a slow start the following morning –I think we were all completely worn out – we had all even declined a closing time drink when final orders had been called the night before!
We had the missing meteorology lecture from the previous evening and then got the boat ready to go – Simon asked me to babysit the water hose (it takes about 20 minutes to fill) whilst he went below to do the engine checks. I was sat right next to it so it was an easy request, and every couple of minutes I just checked it was not overflowing. We all got into a discussion about the upcoming “Olympics” against the other boat and then Simon popped his head up knowingly and asked me how it was going – so I looked round to see it was overflowing – I had proved to be in his words 'a complete muppet' – the whole boat just erupted with laughter, and all at my expense!
Once again we with the wind being “light but sh*te” we did “clipper Olympics”. This involved doing many different drills against the other boat. We roasted them at the mainsail hoist – we were a well oiled team, and then in the Le Mans start we thought we had also thrashed them (in a time of 1 minute 40 seconds) – in so far as we were all up and in the cockpit several minutes before they got back – but the other skipper said it was a void race because they did not manage to do something or other – we just laughed at his inability to take defeat, but still the race was not credited to us.
It did not make a difference as having a really well drilled team that all knew what they were doing, and all working as a team meant we won every race. We had a plan for shaking out a reef which involved just a little slackening of the main sheet – the wind was light and as such we did not need to let it out too far – how ever Skipper had another idea and made me give plenty of slack, because usually we would need to if there was any wind (as there usually would be when the drill was being undertaken) – Liz who was on the topping lift gave me the sort of look you would normally reserve for the terminally stupid – afterwards she admitted she thought I had just had a moment and was about to ban me from the cockpit and just keep me at the heavy end of things!
My favourite moment came when grinding back in a couple of reefs of the main sail. (The mainsail is made larger or smaller depending how many reefs are in or out – this allows you to sail with the main sail up in various different wind conditions). The other boat had an American on board and by this time we were quite convinced we would win the race – so we decided to encourage ourselves with lots of American style motivation. On the grinder Ian and I proclaimed that “pain is only temporary and that glory is permanent” and many other such platitudes.
The afternoon was left to ourselves for another spinnaker run – we used the mid-weight spinnaker and all had a go at helming and trimming the kite, which was much more concentration intensive than under white sails. Of course that did mean we needed to pack the spinnaker again – and since it was our last chance to use it we looked to see if we could find a surprise to pack into the bag – no-one was prepared to admit to owning a leopard skin thong that we could pack but we did manage to find something equally funny. We are just hoping the boat is next used for more Part B training rather than a corporate day out!
We got home and deep cleaned the boat whilst listening to Ireland beat Wales in the Six Nations (we had two Welsh on board and no Irish), and then we had a shower and went to our group meal. It was a much quieter affair that the end of part A although we did bring a few bottles of wine on board at the end of the evening and start playing drinking games.
One game involved bending over to pick up a cereal box in your mouth (no touching the floor etc) and removing a portion each time it was successfully picked up. Valerie let herself down by failing at the first attempt (poorly knee from her times kicking in doors – her job- I was told), whilst Ian showed some superb lateral thinking – the use of sail ties was eventually banned. However the winners were Liz (with her yoga skills) and Owen (with his utter unswerving and unbending determination to win absolutely everything - In fact I think that winning the cereal packet game helped make up for losing the Six Nations title to Ireland!)
The following morning We all went for breakfast back to the Pumphouse – we phoned ahead to smooth the ordering process and 75 minutes later our food came – draw your own conclusions, but it suggested to me that spontaneity was the way to go in future! We all had an individual de-brief and then went off home, all re-invigorated, all talking about our part Cs, Nav courses and the imminent crew allocation day.