Sorry about the silence recently, I’ve been meaning to do this blog for a while now.
The Round the Island race was brilliant fun. I was racing on the Prostate UK cancer boat representing one of the four charity boats. It was brilliant because it was just like a race within a race. I wasn’t too concerned about our overall result. I just wanted to get a result within the charity boats. It was a very exciting race, there is simply none other like it in the world. To head out to the start line soon after 5am and see literally hundreds of yachts filling the Solent is quite a sight I have to admit.
It was a downwind first leg and we got a cracking start accelerating across the line with the spinnaker up. I was happy to see we had an early lead on the other charity boats which we held nicely up until the needles. At this point we had a bit trouble dropping the spinnaker and unfortunately lost around 300m (a lot in racing terms!). Another charity boat caught us up and they then went off inshore to take that tactical route. We stayed offshore as did the other two charity boats.
At the south of the island where all the boats rounded the point (St Catherine's light house - a great reference point for positions) we saw that our offshore route wasn’t as favourable as the inshore one and the Macmillan cancer support boat took the lead.
We were still in second place maintaining a healthy distance over the other two boats and I was happy with our tactics as we came up to the Bembridge Ledge on the east of the island. The Ellen Macarthur Trust boat at this point had made up a good bit of ground and were trailing us by around 150m.
They were able to point higher (brand new sails I’ll add!) and so I was a little worried tactically as they would no doubt try to come up over us and nick our wind and take the lead. The whole team onboard our boat worked really hard with the trimming and we were able to defend our position very nicely all the way to the finish line. I was really chuffed how well everyone worked together onboard and it definitely paid off as we came back in a well earned second place.
The racing was great fun with just the right blend of competitiveness. We didn’t ding anyone and had very few mishaps so I was a very happy Mike at the end of the day. Great racing from all the charity challenge boats too!
Since the race I have been doing a few talks to some schools as part of our VocaLink Live the Dream school programme and I have also been working a bit towards my next adventure.. (can’t tell you what that is yet, but hope to be able to announce something in a couple of weeks!).
Excitingly I’m heading out to Australia at the end of the month to speak at the Sydney Boat Show which I’m really excited about. It’s going to be a fantastic show with lots of exciting attractions!
This next coming week I’m doing a couple more school visits and excitingly I’m also flying out to the Isle of Man courtesy of Canada Life International to speak at a charity event where we are raising money for Project 21. See www.project21iom.com for more info on who they are.
Don McIntyre is flying into the UK soon and it will be fantastic to catch up with him and hear all about the Talisker Bounty Boat Expedition. One of the most important aims of the expedition was to raise money for the Sheffield Institute Foundation and the guys on the trip certainly worked seriously hard doing so! Please keep donating! See www.taliskerbountyboat.com for more info.