George Baker Blog: Force Six...

Windswept
Is, apparently, the wind speed as we head out onto The Solent on Sunday morning.....


Seasoned sailors and salty old sea dogs had been jumping up and down with excitement the night before. The forecast was a little wild. Which seemed to get everybody on Cowes onto tenterhooks. "Perfect", "this could be interesting", "love that wind"......

Heading out onto the high seas aboard an "Elan 450" (whatever that is....) into high winds for my first competitive sailing race. In fact, my first days sailing ever. Tantamount to legging Barney Baker up at the start of The Grand National....

There are an awful lot of metal bits to stub one's toe on. There are an awful lot of things whizzing around at head height. There is an awful lot of angry sea out there.....

Exhilerating. A little terrifying. Especially when I mistimed my "across the boat" tacking manoevure. And found myself upside down on a vertical deck, being grabbed by the legs to save me from sliding overboard. "Muppet novice" is how I felt....

The crew very forgiving. Shouting a lot. I don't think I made too many abject "cock-ups". But I was certainly no more than a passenger. A fleet of 32 yachts in our class. At one point, we were leading. But then a tactical error saw us drop to 8th. Which is where we finished. No podium finish. But no disgrace....

Another of life's boxes ticked off. "Sailing in a competitive yacht race at Cowes". Something I never imagined I would do. Done.....

And off the boat in time to watch Yensi "hose up" at Windsor. The rains that came through the afternoon well timed. Lucky. A couple of times recently the luck had not quite gone our way. This time it did. It usually evens out over time....

Poker Hospital, at the same track, showing improved form. Which was pleasing. And then yesterday Sinbad The Sailor undone by the slow pace. Hindsight is very easy. But we should have made much more use of him.....

And Billyrayvalentine at Downtown Dunstall. Travelling really well from a poor draw. Looking the likely winner turning in. But fading to 4th through the final furlong. He is probably best when held up. Not an option from yesterday's wide draw. Maybe drop him back to five. He has speed to burn. He will definitely win races....

Nothing today. Admin. Paperwork. Fun.....

A new discovery. The Yew Tree at Odstock. Reached along by-ways, across country. A settling pint last night with C and Valerie, and the kids. A decent spot...

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