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Hamble winter series Race 6 On a drizzly November morning the crew of Gambit gathered for what was to be for 5 of the crew, their first go at big boat racing, the forecast was for a steady westerly blowing 13-14 knots. With Tim (our only experienced bow) convalescing due to a damaged knee the decision was taken not to fly the spinnaker, today was not about winning but about gaining experience under race conditions. So the crew that made it to the pontoon was Cees - Skipper/pit/nav Tullia - Trimmer Jorrit - Helm Copey - Main Dino - Bow Tom - Mast/Trimmer Tamsyn - Trimmer We all put our Gambit Jackets on and certainly looked the part! We looked that good that malice (a J109 I think) who are moored opposite us asked us for a tow out of their mooring as their engine wouldn't start and they clearly were desperate to race! We hoisted our main and promptly lost the bottom most baton! I think we are keeping north in business with baton losses! Undeterred we headed for the start line, once at the start line we practiced a few tacks during this practice mum decided that she no longer required both her shoes and dropped on over board, it floated for quite a while before the yacht behind us ran it over and it vanished forever. With mum now wearing one of Tim’s boots and her remaining shoe and after waiting for what seemed like ages for the faster classes to stop jumping the start, we go our first race underway we started near the back of the fleet quite detached from the pack but had caught up to the transom of vitesse by the top mark, unfortunately once they got their spinnaker up they pulled away and we finished the race in amongst the IRC 4 boats. For race two with the crew confidence growing and some sound words of advice from Phil on Festina still resounding in our heads we ready to compete, and as it turned out we held our own starting at about the midway point on the start line we managed to keep pace with the boats around us and at the top mark we were the 5 sigma round unfortunately due to the lack of our lovely orange spinny (with a massive black lion on it) Marta, Vitesse and, I think, it was Zanzara soon overtook us on the downwind leg once they got past our goal was to stay ahead of the IRC 4 boat which we managed. To put some perspective on it in the first race Festina finished in 1:08:37 and we took 1:20:15 in slightly breezier conditions for the second race run over an identical course to the first Festina finished in 1:06:01 and Gambit in 1:14:33 so our time improvement was greater than Festina’s showing that as a crew we are getting better (and it is always worth listening to Phil!) also we finished under 2mins behind vitesse in the second race so had we had our kite I am sure we would have given John a run for his money! Although we were technically last in both races (well second to last in the second race as Dragonfly had gone home) the main winner today was experience. We have learnt that a good start is vital, that you need to make sure your baton/shoes are secure before departure and Copey has learnt that going out drinking the night before you race really does make you feel very bad indeed! Gambit is coming out of the water now till the new year as family commitments mean we have no skipper for the next two races she will have a new prop whilst she is out of the water and the rig will get a full inspection and refurb and hopefully we can start climbing up the leader board and giving some of the other boats something to think about!
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