"I'll hae nae hauf-way hoose but aye be whaur extremes meet..." Hugh McDiarmid

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

gosport to london delivery and training trip

we left gosport in a big line and headed for the start. it had been decided this was the perfect opportunity for a short race and gave us a chance to practice 12 boat race starts :) we were slightly disorganised and were still hoisting headsails when the start gun went. by the time I asked when the race started, we were halfway to the first mark near the isle of wight before heading towards france...whoops...

a big line of clipper 70s heading out of gosport...
the weather on the way to france was pretty good. we had decent wind which was nice. after we'd had our tea we went into the watch system. I love being in the watch system as I get some really awesome sleep, as the crew discovered when I was a nightmare to wake up...

we got to the south cardinal just off cherbourg in good time then the wind died. a total flat calm. nightmare. we had to use the iron spinnaker (engine) to get round the mark or we would have been pushed into it by the massive tide. stuck in the wind hole we had a slow trip along the coast and back to england. we did get a few wee jobs done while it was calm though, so it wasn't a total write off :)

once the short race was finished, it was back to drills and skills. headsail changes and reefing drills are two of matt's favourite things in the world it seems... however, it didn't seem too long at all until we were at the rendezvous point and starting to motor into the thames heading for st katharine's docks near tower bridge:

the big bridge as we entered the thames
once we were under the big bridge above, we decided to start doing the deep clean of the boat. this meant we were busy for the boring bit of the thames and that we could go to the pub earlier when we arrived ;) as we arrived at the thames flood barrier, we were told to get on deck in our red jackets as there were photographers around. deep clean finished, we got on deck and watched as bits of london we recognised went past on each side of us.

I've only ever been as far as excel in london and that was with a tall ship which we were taking to the boat show. it was nice to get a bit further in :D

arty photo of the thames flood barrier and one of our running backstays

jo and allan chilling out on the bow of cv23 on the approach to tower bridge

tower bridge!! st katharine's dock is just to the right of it on this side. home for the next week til race start!
we got to st katharine's dock and there were loads of folk out to watch us in. I guess I'll have to get used to that sensation, along with the other 8 round the worlders on our boat. there were cameras and everything there. luckily, anthony was there to take a photo of our arrival. I'm the only casually leaning on the inner forestay:

cv23 arriving into st katharine's dock :)
parking in the dock was pretty tight, but matt did a really sweet park and before long we were tied up alongside and getting our arrivals talk from gillian. she gave us the race crew bands which would allow us onto the pontoons all week and then it was to the pub! our first pint in a week and I for one was pretty tipsy halfway through it... I guess I have to get used to that as well!

all twelve boats were finally parked and all twelve crews and the clipper office guys were in the pub that night which was really cool. everybody exchanging frustrating stories of being becalmed and socialising. something else to get used to :)

thanks to neil from psp logistics for this great photo of us all berthed up in st katharine's dock
the talk in the pub moved onto the inevitable and growing jobs list. a few folk had to head home once we arrived, but for the few of us who stayed on board continuously, matt gave us the next day off just to relax and not do any work on the boat. which was really great. me and kate went into london town and did some bits'n'bobs of shopping :D

then it was back to the jobs list...

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