This weekend has been long marked on the calendar. A sort of D-day if you like. Way back in the depths of winter Kathryn sensibly suggested that we plan our first event in the 29er. Something to aim for and work towards. Time has a nasty habit of marching on and you find yourself at that date quicker than you expected.
We bought the boat early January after a brief discussion in the clubhouse over a drink. The boys had been out in the Feva together and it was obvious that they gelled on the water. It was a large jump for both boys, but they both seemed hungry for a challenge.
In the early weeks, Tom was on hand to help us rig and to take the boys out. They spent more time capsizing than they did sailing. It was hard for us all. We shared many firsts, including breaking the ice on the Mere so that the boys could sail. I will never forget Kathryn and I looking at each other as we did this, wondering how our lives were changing.
One Sunday Rich turned up to the club after a spell away, full of knowledge, enthusiasm and ideas and took the boys on. That was one of our better days.
Saturday of the race dawned, we drove in convoy as the full team came to support. There's a well known African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child" and it couldn't be more appropriate. So many people had helped them along the way and everyone who came had played a part in getting them to this point.
The racing was delayed as they waited for the winds to build. It was a welcome delay, as it gave us a chance to feed them before they went out and to settle our nerves. The boys as ever, were brilliant. They weren't frightened to get in the mix with older and more experienced teams. They weren't pushing the line but they sailed longer, harder and faster than that had ever done before. They proved they could do it and they came off the race course with beaming smiles.
Driving back I proudly announced how I had found the weekend relatively stress free, shared load and all that. I felt full of energy and ready for the next adventure. Oh how I was wrong, last night I had an overwhelming exhaustion sweep over me, I fear I may have been running on adrenaline all weekend and finally crashed. I crawled into bed at 9pm and slept for the next 11 hours.