Sun 28th June
With all the racing over, the boats were going to be opened to the public and we had a plan of action to make sure we would get onboard Team SCA. So we got the ferry over at 0830 over to the Race village and there was no security – so we were practically the first in the village and first in the queue for visiting the boats. Several people tried to queue jump and Mags gave them her fiercest teacher’s stare and some firm advice as to where the back of the queue was. (Please note that no children were harmed in this process – though some came close!).
We were first onto Team SCA – which was great because we actually got longer than other groups and it was before they were jaded. It was very well done with each boat having 5 on at a time and a member of the crew.
Sally (who was a driver, trimmer and tactician for the in port races ) was our guide and we asked her lots of questions. She explained the workings of the deck and the winches. The size of the winches and the weight of the sail packs that they regularly moved makes you realise how physical the race must be.
Then she took us down below. The first thing you notice is how dark it is down below as all the surfaces are the matt black of the carbon fibre that it is constructed from and then the smell…. Even though it has been scrubbed.
Below is a mixture of the very high tech electronics and very basic systems, all of which are exposed for easy maintenance. Being on board was such a highlight and we are still buzzing from the experience. Today was our day to explore the village which is very well laid out and it is clear by its construction it is a very slick operation as it is designed to be moved easily from port to port. The containers give you a clue as to how it packs down, even the race helicopter fits into one. The village had 3 excellent exhibitions. One is about the legends of former races and where are they today and it tells the story of all former boats and all the crews. I have had 2 friends that have done the Whitbread as it was called then and it was great to see their names up: Sarah Davies and Nick Bate.
The second was a dome with different films showing about the history of the race. Originally there were supposed to be 8 teams and so 8 boats were made but the 8th failed to raise all the sponsorship necessary to enter so they have cut one boat in half from bow to stern and so you can see all the systems, which is fascinating. All too soon it was time to leave the Race Village – we felt sad to leave as we had followed the highs and lows of the team ( from the comfort of our house) culminating with being part of their final stop over. I cant begin to imagine what it must be like for Team SCA when they leave on the 1st July having been together for 2 years and having completed such a challenging race……… I just hope there are women in the next VOR.