Never mind posts about “this time next year!” This time next week it’s Clipper Level 2 training.
“A core element of the Clipper Race experience is the pioneering training programme that enables novice and skilled yachts-people to tackle the most challenging situations on the planet.” – The Official Race Crew Manual.
The aim of Level 2 is to take the crewing skills from Level 1 (see blog 9 Have you heard the one about the Englishman etc etc published on 9 July) and apply them to offshore sailing and life onboard. We will concentrate on the development of our sailing skills but focus more on the living onboard and operating in a watch system and this Level has a stronger offshore sailing element than Clipper Level 1.
So its back to Portsmouth on Friday for a full day’s Sea Survival course on the Saturday starting at 0800 (classroom and swimming pool, immersion suits, life jackets and life Rafts) before joining a Clipper 68 on Saturday evening, completing some alongside refresher training Saturday night and Sunday morning, and going to sea later on the Sunday. This time it’s sailing the yacht in watches (some combination of 6 hours on, 6 hours off and 4 hours on, 4 hours off – although other watchkeeping routines are available – and probably hot-bunking (sharing a bunk space with someone in the opposite watch) and plenty of sail, eat, sleep, repeat. Not necessarily in that order and certainly not in equal proportions. There will be another assessment thrown in there somewhere, plus another deep clean at the end and success for me might be just as simple as not falling off the yacht this time.
I’ve expanded my kit for this time with one or two bits and pieces I hope to take with me next year so I hope to take some of my wider mental preps further than I did back in April. My head torch has been recharged, the batteries in my “electric’ razor have been charged following my earlier “beard experiment” (see blog 11 What Will Crossing The South Atlantic etc REALLY Look Like published 14 July), I’ve tried-out waterproof covers for my phone and iPad (for blogging and photography purposes – although the latter now also carries a knot tying app!) and I’ve invested in a few sets of anti-snoring devices – that’s earplugs to you and me. With the notable exceptions of not knowing many, if any, of the men and women I will be sailing with, nor, for that matter if we are turning left or right once clear of Gosport next Sunday …….. then I think I’m almost ready.