Yesterday I got to be the in-studio guest at BBC Radio Berkshire to talk about my involvement with the Clipper Race. Amazingly I wasn’t even a tiny bit nervous, I just found it fascinating how many computer monitors a single DJ has to look at all at the same time.
Here’s the link - you just need to forward to about 2.11 otherwise you’ll be sitting through a 3 hour show.
I’m also pleased to say that our pictures are now at last live on the Clipper website - you can see them here. These are the people (well not all of them as we can only fit 18 of us on at a time) that I’ll be spending 6 weeks of my life with in a 68 foot long space. Big Brother may have been axed, but this is its replacement show.
Tomorrow we’re off for a very last minute, very nasty Haven holiday type affair for the bank holiday weekend. I was supposed to be doing media training for the race, but it’s the last weekend we’ll all have together as a family without birthday parties and imminent race starts to contend with. So I thought ‘Sod it.’ It’s going to be cheese-tastic and I feel we might have to take a lot of wine with us to get through it, but the kids will love it.
I’ve also made my final purchases for the race - including the highly recommended yet excrutiatingly priced Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream which apparently cures/solves a multitude of skin ailments likely to occur at sea.
All that’s left to do is the pre-leaving home logistics. That will take an entire blog post of its own.
On Monday the boys and I will head down to Gosport to bid the boats farewell as they make their way up to Hull. The excitement is definitely building now…
August 27th, 2009
So tomorrow night I head off to Gosport again for Part C of my sailing training. We set sail on Thursday morning and supposedly spend all week off shore, sailing down the English channel towards Land’s End. We’ll be negotiating shipping lanes, getting used to a watch system, learning how to race and most importantly of all, getting our sea legs. Because we’ll be getting up close and personal with the Atlantic swell.
Last time I had to spend a night on board out to sea, my body decided it didn’t particularly love it and I was sea sick. For the first time in my life. I’ve now experienced the joy that is sea sickness and I think it’s up there with giving birth. You want both over with fast.
I have a stash of Kwells, Sea Legs and Sturgeron - I’m taking no chances. But I’m still nervous about it. The only good thing is that I really could afford to lose some weight (every since summer decided to arrive and I’ve had to put on summer skirts and shorts, things haven’t been looking pretty) so barfing for days might be a good thing.
I have also been on a bit of a shopping spree. Sailing gear is expensive. But I found two outlet stores stocking everything I needed and managed to bag the lot for half price. So although my credit card didn’t enjoy the experience, it won’t need CPR to recover.
I now feel like a bona fide sailor as I have sailing shorts, trousers, performance tops (yes, they actually make you perform better), gloves, dri bags, polarised sunglasses, special sweat sucking out socks, a dry fast towel and my husband is hopefully picking up my new very smart sailing boots this afternoon. That just leaves me to collect my fully branded outers from Clipper and I’ll look like I’m ready to conquer the ocean.
Here’s hoping my stomach plays ball so that I can look and act like a pro sailor.
Wish me luck. I’ll report back when I return a week hence. Hopefully more tanned, more trimmed and with sturdy sea legs.
PS - at 5am this morning I woke from a nightmare in which I had forgotten how to tie a bowline. Guess what? I had. Before 6am I was out in the garage finding a length of rope and tying knots around pieces of furniture. Parallel universe this is.
June 30th, 2009
Since posting a couple of weeks back about getting assigned to our boats, things have been storming ahead. Our team pic is now finally up on the site - this is it:
I am the one at the far right of the row of people sitting, am just above the dragon’s eye with my lily white legs on display. They’ve not got our individual pics up yet. Still waiting for that excitement.
But our crew forums are now live which means we can chat to our fellow crew members and discuss important things like:
- Crew song: obviously something to buoy us up while being uber cool at the same time. We’ve chosen one. I can’t possibly tell you what it is just in case some other boats start sniffing round this blog.
- Crew attire: we were all getting worked up about what to wear but apparently our sponsors are sorting us out with something fetching. And we’re pretty keen on some Chinese style bandanas so that our hair is kept out of our faces and we look like we can karate chop the opposition. I feel the expression: ‘I’m going to Jackie Chan your ass’ might be bandied about a lot.
-Crew get together: because our weekends and lives are not quite busy enough, we’re trying to pin down a date when we can get together (not on a boat) to bond. This will involve something cheap and probably as uncomfortable as being on a boat. Logistically it’s a bit of a nightmare to organise but we do all need to find out just how annoying we are before we’re confined to a 68 foot long space for 5 weeks (10 months for around the worlders).
- Crew funds: what we need to buy for our boat that will make life a bit more luxurious. No, probably not a cocktail shaker. Sadly. But possibly a table we can eat off of. You know, the important stuff.
- Crew food: For some reason, I’ve volunteered myself for victualling. This is a job that means you have to plan what 18 people will eat, three meals a day plus snacks for 5 weeks, taking into account vegetarianism, allergies, fussiness, religious food issues and the fact that there’s no fridge. So that should be easy. 50 ways with spam. I foresee a future best selling cookery book coming out…
I’ve also booked a hotel room for my husband, mother in law and children in Hull so that they can come and see me off at the start. It’s a bit of a gamble. The kids might freak out. But hopefully with daddy and granny there to distract them with the promise of ice cream, me departing over an ocean won’t even feature. And I think it’s important for them to be part of it. Of course I’ll be wearing a stoic smile before going down below to sob.
I’m also starting to look into flights back from Rio and am so, so, so tempted to say to hell with credit card debt and living on beans for the next year, let’s just fly my husband and boys out to Rio so that they can meet me and we can all have a well deserved holiday. HOWEVER, financially this might just be impossible. In fact it’s very impossible. But it’s nice to dream.
I’ve been reading up on sail rig and tuning, you know before bed. Talk about a passion killer. I’ve asked to be in the Pit on the boat which is where all the ropes come in and you need to be Little Miss Efficient. However, if I don’t get that job, I’ve asked to be a trimmer of headsails, mainsail or spinnaker. All of which require some know how. It is brain achingly complicated involving diagrams with lots of squiggly arrows, but hopefully it will all make sense in time.
I’ve been putting plans into place so that my business not only runs smoothly while I’m gone, it runs even better than normal! Hoorah.
I’ve been confirming nannies and cover for various bits that I’m away. And I’ve been trying to get all the kit I need to buy but my man what does discounts isn’t coming back to me. I might have to hunt him down and beat him with a shitty stick.
And lastly, I’ve been trying desperately to organise my final fund raising event - a tea party with auction. However, due to low numbers of attendees and a clashing school fund raiser, I’ve now binned the idea. Instead I will hopefully very soon be unveiling an online auction of the prizes from this very blog. So when I do, please spread the word and tell friends to place bids.
So not much on then. Will be back soon. For now, I need to start reading up on meteorology…
June 17th, 2009