This adventure has been so long in the making (nearly two years of anticipation) that it is almost difficult to believe that in a few hours we will be slipping lines at the start of the adventure for real. Sailing the boat up to Liverpool was the dry run – the being seasick, the tides-out tea, the Narnian struggle to the nav station along a pitched-over corridor of clothing, seawater down the back of the neck, extra seawater over on-deck supper …. all treats to savour again in plenty. The victualling has been both a headache and a pleasure … just seeing people’s faces on walking out of a supermarket with a shed-load of chocolate biscuits + enough toilet rolls to construct a full-sized igloo is enough to make you smile. The crews have been at is for the last month – sails sorted, pulpits mended, ropes milked, doughnuts made, splises splised … ready or not here we go!
My appreciation of dinner ladies has gone gone up beyond all measure! Until I landed the job of providing food for a cast of thousand over an unknowable time period (ie. victualling for my crew for a race of 5 weeks +) I had absolutely no idea of the range of skills + the emotional steadfastness required!
Planning a menu comprising nutrious one pot meals for 22 people with a range of carbs (beyond the usual pasta + rice) + flavours was one thing … but ordering + overseeing the logistics of food acquirisition was altogether on a different level of stressfulness. Especially when the wholesale company you have been directed to towards delivers a fantacy shop of ingredients not neccesary related to what was ordered.
I think it is fair to say there was a brief period on the sidelines with total melt down … then I pulled myself together + with the help from a couple of fellow crew (who subbed as the food elves) we got an unbelieveably large volume of food into day bags + stowed on the boat under the bunks.
It is the shear numbers + volumes that are mind-blowing … 22 people stuck on a boat for 5 weeks potentially can eat their way through an unbelievably large number of muesli bars!
Three days to go + now my biggest problem is finding a way of stopping the prep week crew from eating all the yummy food snacks they like most!
But we’ll manage. Three days until the off … my tactic? To buy the popular stuff (ie the triple choc cookies) last thing Saturday so the consumption window is short + remind the crew that Mr Tesco doesn’t normally do helicopter mid-Atlantic ‘shop ‘n drop’ deliveries … but I am sure foodwise we will survive!
That last week of training (Level 4) – the dress rehearsal before the show – when I finally got to sail with both my skipper and some of the crew. Exciting, edgy, digging around in the bottom of my memory to get the knots and techniques right. Bit light on winds at the start of the week so some excellent time for contemplation and some on-board CX workouts … but in that just right ‘Goldie Locks’ window by the end for an ace spinnaker drop/gybe manoeuvre round that west cardinal and back to Gosport that totally jelled us as a crew. This adventure is going to be fun!