06. We Are Sailing, We Are Sailing

Before you read further, be warned that if you want a blow-by-blow account of the yacht race, this is not the Blog you are looking for. There are plenty of others, just go into search and you’ll find them.

If you were planning to go around the world with 21 complete strangers (40% of whom have never sailed before, don’t forget), in a 70 foot yacht with only 16 berths to it, what preparations would you make? Train, obviously. For a total of four weeks. Mostly a week at a time. You need to have insurance and next-of-kin before they’ll let you on the boat.

You can train in Gosport or Sydney. Thankfully (NOT a foregone conclusion) MBB decided to stay in the UK for this part of the adventure.

As MBB have had two weeks training so far, here’s a summary of their progress.

Yes, a bit of rope. With no knots. I could add pictures of knots but there are plenty on the net. However, it is a vital piece of kit for practicing with. On the theory side, there is a training manual of more than 80 pages. Week One is crewing skills, which means you become RYA Competent Crew and Week Two is Offshore Sailing and Life on-Board. For these two weeks you have wet cards (not necessarily the correct technical term) around your neck for quick reference.

After Week One you get a stamp in your logbook to confirm you’ve successfully completed what’s needed (getting on and off the boat, knowing what to do if someone goes overboard, tying lots of knots, knowing what various bits of the boat are called and getting on well enough with your crewmates that you all come back in one piece). There is not a full crew so you do get a berth each night, and are able to go to the marina for a shower as there is no night sailing. Here’s George’s boat and team.

Week Two starts in a swimming pool practicing man overboard (the first week involves a mannequin). Then off you go into the wide blue yonder (or the Solent, whichever is nearer). You sleep on the boat so have the¬†experience of not showering every day. I hope they remembered their wet wipes and good deodorant. George went as far as Plymouth and saw dolphins but John didn’t have that excitement. They both sailed in October when the weather was getting rough, so didn’t go as far as they wanted.

Here are the certificates they received, to be stuck into logbooks (different from the ones that are stamped, I’ve been told?)

The training stops for the winter so Week Three will be in February / March. In the meantime homework will be lots of knot tying and reading of the manual and no doubt this book:

Next time: boring stuff to think about before leaving your home for almost a year.

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