Smiles all round. Spirit of Oysterhaven, a sail training yacht from Ireland which we’d first met in the Cape Verde’s were short of crew for the final day of racing at Antigua Classics. We were made up when skipper Oliver ask us if we’d like to join the boat.
There were 9 of us in total, eight to help sail the boat and one professional photographer. We had a good mix of nationalities, Irish, Dutch, Swedish, American plus us Brits. No records were broken or placings awarded although that aspect was irrelevant. Being able to participate in such an iconic race with 200 foot leviathan’s such as Adix and Columbia and renowned podium climbers like Wild Horses was a joy.
The weather delivered a constant 20 knots, the sun shone and the long upwind leg kept us busy with many tacks. Spirit does not tack quickly. Her genoa must be rolled away each time and unfurled again after the tack otherwise the sail gets caught. Beverley the photographer took many photos of us hauling on lines and winching hard while arms and lungs permitted. Don’t think Ben Ainslie will be recruiting any of our crew for the Americans Cup in Bermuda this June.
As I’ve mentioned already, it was a real treat to be able to take part. I enjoyed the chats I had with other crew members; Bob, the ex-tennis professional who was entered into men’s singles at Wimbledon one year but was ill so couldn’t participate. And Charlotte a buyer for a fashion retail business in the Netherlands who has also sailed many thousands of miles.
It was one of those days where a group of randomly linked individuals come together, have a fantastic shared experience then go their separate ways again. Long may such days continue.