. . . will very likely include a van full of salty gear, enough sails for a fleet of boats, rigging upon rigging, copies of yacht and yachting splayed across the dash and if lucky: a full size bed in the back!
The office view today is from Gravedona on Lake Como and the event: 18 footer Italian Grand Prix. The road trip from England . . .the best time a sailor can have next to a good run in firm breeze! We began the trip late Thursday evening (24th) and due to some car trouble (standard road trip blunder) missed our 2AM ferry to France . . .
What do sailors do when they have time on their hands and can't move forward . . . they work on the boat of course! In the world of the 18footer . . . that is usually carbon fiber repair of some form. I dare not tell them, "no, you must sleep and rest!"; I made them sandwiches and set out bottles of water and sports drink to keep them going strong. It's a lifestyle and you have to work with it, not against it . . .
We caught the 4:45AM ferry, slept like babes after a warm bottle of milk and hit the ground "rolling" as we continued across France. All was uneventful till we blew the fuses for the stereo and Si's bank card was not simply stolen by a machine but the whole machine removed itself from the wall and revealed a little man inside . . . clearly Si missed the note in French explaining the machine was out of order . . . the man would not return the card . . . after a fair amount of arm waving between the Englishman and the little Frenchman . . .nothing was lost in translation!
We settled affairs with the bank card, replaced the fuses and I revealed how easy one can stretch and do a little yoga in the back of a yellow Mercedes Sprinter outfitted with a full size bed! Aside from the comedy, because we knew there would be little prep time once we arrived, there was a bit of seriousness in taking care to make good nutritional choices, staying well hydrated and a "watch system" of sorts to ensure the guys were well rested despite all the driving (24hrs in total). We did have some "fun food", rest assure; I am not a sailing fitness nazi but when you invest money and time away from family and work to compete at high levels . . . it's silly to shoot yourself in the foot with poor self care.
And it was being in a positive physical and mental state that helped us weather our final hurdle (as if towing a boat through the Swiss Alps was not enough of a challenge) . . .we get stuck at the border . . . 25mins from our destination, there is a little place on the west shores of Lake Como where you leave Italy, enter back into Switzerland and return to Italy. On one side we have mountain cliffs and the other; the lake . . .what does boarder control, who is unhappy with our van set up (no seatbelt for fourth person) do with a yellow van, skiff in tow and no place to park . . .
They discuss the situation while we gave consideration to whether or not we could all sail the skiff to the club. . .they were concerned about us in the van, not the boat! When well fed, properly rested and hydrated a team can think quite creatively through problems! Thankfully, they became bored and let us carry on in the van . . . phew.
We arrived at the club warmly greeted by the rest of our British sailing contingent, enjoyed an adult beverage and turned in for the night. Day 1 of racing was postponed due to light shifty breezes, sneaking in one race to which awarded my team a second out of a fleet of 21 boats. The boys came off the water very pleased and remarked it was the most enjoyable sail since their days of match racing. They were "dancing" very well, had good energy and felt focused.
Today the breeze is still light and due to make a 180 shift at anytime but the race committee is determined to get as many races off as possible. The boys did enjoy the Italian hospitality last night but did have sense to get good sleep, have finally made habit in smart AM food choices and when the time signal for "rigs ups" arrived, were in fabulous spirits and ready for another day on the water.
At last . . the shift has filled in from the South . . .and it's good breeze! Check in tomorrow for a report of how they faired! I am quite pleased we threw in extra energy bars and fluids! They just went from 0-60 . . .
The van...Photo:C. Favreau