Sometimes I want to just sit and weep I'm in so far over my head. This week I bought a rivet gun, my childhood ballet lessons didn't prepare me for this.
My son George is marching forward with his Laser sailing. He comes alive on the water and has drive and determination that I can only marvel at. I am doing my best to support him. It's not easy.
Every time I master a hurdle, he progresses again, leaving me stood still. The majority of his training has moved down to Weymouth which has involved decamping there weekend after weekend. I can now handle the trailer without crying, only to discover there is a whole world of things I don't know.
A couple of weeks ago, it was too foggy to sail, so the coaches decided it would be advantageous to have a once over of the boats. My heart leapt. Someone was going to help me. I would have to face the embarrassment of a very unprepared boat but I was not going to turn down this help. Many parts of the boat were worn and the outhaul and downhaul required a rerig. The coach was brilliant and I spent the morning running merrily between the boat park and the chandlery, leaching more money every time I went.
Once in the hands of an expert, it is amazing how I find I immediately turn into a toddler, unable to complete the most basic of tasks. "Can you cut this line?". "Well I'm not entirely sure I can without stabbing you in the process". I replied. My car had run out of screen wash and whilst we were out in the boat park and I was being a spectacular loose part, I thought it would be a brilliant time to fill it and hopefully to stop looking stupid.
I opened the driver door, after a considerable amount of time searching , I could not find the handle to open the bonnet. I was clearly still in toddler mode. I had to call on fellow parents to help me put screenwash in my car. Things had hit a pretty much all time low at this point.
The kindness of strangers quite overwhelms me. I turn and one man is fixing my boat, whilst one is filling my car with screenwash and another is lending me a screwdriver for the 4th time and not forgetting the young man who yet again lent me the trolley wheels. I could weep. I am so out of my depth.
This week was the European qualifiers which sports the best field with World Champions and Olympians racing alongside my son. He has an older boat, I can't afford a new one yet, so I try to do the best with improvements. I noticed his back block on his boom was hanging off so my father marched me up to B and Q to buy a rivet gun as I was clearly going to need it. (My poor mother, how she would love to take me to have my nails done and buy me some nice shoes. Both totally pointless.) I also ordered new sail numbers for his racing sail as I had bought a 2nd hand one.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday came. No sail numbers appeared. A frantic Facebook plea and John from Laser managed to get some sent down to Weymouth. All I had to do was find Emma with the silver van.
We nervously set off. I didn't sleep that night for fear of not locating the sail numbers and had visions of trying to put them on as the boats were launching.
The next morning, the Academy was buzzing, Lasers and people as far as the eye could see. Vehicles had been banned from entering so my chances of finding the silver van were pretty remote. I made my confession at the registration desk. They were kind. All I had to do was fill out a form that would be signed off by the race committee, I could keep the wrong sail numbers and all would be well. That is providing no-one else had the same numbers. What are the chances of that? Laser numbers are 6 digits long. So very remote.
That is unless you happen to have purchased the sail from the World Champion who was also competing. Bugger. You couldn't have written it, of all the sail numbers. Further forms and an agreement was made that I could pull off 1 number leaving him with 5 numbers.
I was helping out on the committee boat, so I had to leave George alone and prayed there would be no more hiccups. As he was launching and just seconds off leaping in his boat, he heard an announcement over the tannoy. " Would the owner of the Black Volvo....." I was already in the water, so he dragged his boat back up the slipway ran to the trailer grabbed the car keys and ran outside to the external car park (All cars were banned) to find the hazard warning lights flashing. Being only 14, he had no idea how to turn them off and had to ask bystanders what to do. Marvellous start Jane. Whilst the others were making their way to the start line, my son was standing in the car park turning off the hazard lights that I knocked earlier in my nervous dash to see the race officials.
He launched, set off, only to be stopped en route to the start boat by the jury boat and questioned as to why he only had 5 sail numbers.
That Kid has nerves of steel, how he didn't crumple I have no idea. He made the start line, sailed his heart out and exceeded all expectations.
I drove home and went to bed with my copy of Ben Ainslie's Laser sailing.