UK Firefighters

Sailing Challenge

(July 2007)

My Crew for the 2007 July UK Fire-fighters Sailing Challenge
in the Solent

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  This is the annual UK Firefighters Sailing Challenge, is open to particitants from all of the Emergency Services and run by Sunsail.   It is held in the Solent and this year we covered around 8 races.   I was lucky to be chosen to Skipper the Heathrow Airport Fire Service’s entry.   My crew totalling 8 (including Chris Freeman as Navigator) were all experienced in that they had entered the Challenge the previous year.   Yes, that was their whole sailing experience.   Naturally, it was very hard work but so enjoyable.   All the yachts were Sunsail Jeaneau Sunfast 37 standard charter boats.  Not being able to choose our yacht we unfortunatly had a rather tired mainsail, one that was difficult to shape.  Naturally we made the best of it and enjoy the thrill of Racing.
We covered around 130 Nmiles in the 3 days  starting second in one race whilst up against one hardened experienced weekly trained crew.   It was a struggle trying to maintain the crew’s Tea input, after all they were Firefighters and stopping them stripping to gain a Sun tan whilst racing was something else. My Raybans also went overboard.  We didn’t gain overall honours but the experience was well worth the effort.  It was all very hard work but well worth it and my crew - fantastic.

A little coaching goes a long way but that's all we had time for.  My crew's experience - they did it last year

A tense moment adjusting the sails but that's not the time to make the Tea

A close moment but that's racing.  Overtaking boat keeps clear (I wish)

Seven up and one below navigating on Seapro

Taking it easy between races gave us a chance to regain our senses

Coming close again but that's the Challenge of close quarter sailing

All we want now is wind and a bit of luck.  Of course you could try and push the boom over with one hand