This weekend was the big one. It mattered. Could we hold it together for the moderation day on Sunday? We had without doubt given it our all. Our poor families had been abandoned for our G14's, countless biscuits and the visions.
I woke on Saturday morning with sore shoulders from sailing the day before. Ed had long left with George for Hayling Island, so I liberally applied deep heat to my shoulders by myself. I admit it wasn't the easiest of tasks, I roughly sprayed it in the right direction, the smell drove the cat out, so I opened the window. I quickly changed and took a quick glance in the mirror as I left the room, only to discover that my entire body from face down was bright red. I stood and stared for several minutes to decide whether it was rising further. Deep panic rose inside. Could I die from deep heat over application? Should I tell William to phone the emergency services? Who would notice? I reeked of deep heat, was a little itchy and I was late.
It it turns out I didn't die but I did smell and itch all day. We had a great day on the water, backwards sailing, rudderless sailing, sailing close to the wind, we meant business. The sun shone and our spirits soared. That evening was our club's annual rigging out supper. Usually a great event, with fine food and top speakers. Preparations were in full swing, so the only space left for our final debrief before moderation was the ladies changing room. We sat on the benches amongst wet bags and dripping showers and it was boiling. The heating was on full for the evening, I was getting very itchy again.
We we had an hour to go home, change before the rigging out supper. The guest speaker that evening turned out to be our moderator for the next day. So we needed to be on our best behaviour, keep a low profile and not to giggle during the speech. Keeping a low profile has never been my best attribute, so we managed not only be introduced, but additionally to be continually referenced to throughout the speech. Marvellous.
The following morning I woke at 5am after a fretful 4 hour sleep, this time Ben Ainslie failed to meet me in my dreams. I tried to visualise land drills and remember key points. I gave up, put my light on and cuddled my G14. The sun rose, it was a stunning morning. My heart was raced making the simplest of tasks difficult.
Driving along the Warwick Road, my brain emptied itself. People noticed, I heard constant cries of "Smile, Jane". I must have looked very vacant. I didn't want to smile, I had a score to settle with sailing and I needed to focus. I met Matt and Phil and as we rigged and prepared, our nerves collectively jangled, we struggled to remember our own names even. The wind was light, the sun shone and we seemed race through the drills and we were done. Pause. Breathe. Relax. Smile. No, none of those felt possible whilst we waited to hear the outcome. The Sunday racers drifted into the club, we ate more biscuits and waited.
We gathered for the debrief, I think I may have held my breath. We passed. Momentarily stunned into silence, none of us spoke. Matt croaked a quiet thank you. I wanted to cry. It had been a long hard process, something we had thrown our hearts and souls and possibly a little more into. We sat at the bar, watched the late afternoon sun dappling on the water and raised our glasses to all those who had helped us along the way. We were exhausted, broken, a little itchy but we had done it.