Antigua Sailing Week (April – 4 months late!!)

As I said before, I’d had so much fun at Heineken that I wanted to do another regatta – trying to juggle work and what regatta was a bit trickier… once again, work were awesome and agreed I could take holiday after I realised that I wanted to do Antigua Sailing Week (ASW)

Why ASW? Well – I have history with Antigua. It’s somewhere I love, where I feel happy & comfortable, where I know the people & area from running round solo whilst he was off doing the 600 a few years on the bounce. And yes, memories that I wanted to get past… not erase, but just create new ones… my ones…

In thinking things through, I realised that it was also my year coming up – a year of no “us”. Nearly a year where at times, I didn’t think I was gonna get through it (despite everyone telling me I would), where I didn’t know who I was, and I wasn’t sure I’d find all the pieces of me to stick back together again… I’ve changed a lot, rediscovered who I am… I’ve done lots of new & exciting things and I’ve slowly learnt how to be happy, where I’ve finally realised it wasn’t me with the issues… and I think I’ve stuck “most” of the pieces of me back together again. A few residual cracks & edges, but ones that are slowly softening with time…

Most importantly I’m at peace with myself and I’m having fun… 😉

(And those “wobbles” are few n far between)

Landing in VC Bird – caught up with some of the Brighton guys who were also out for ASW but on a different flight #BYMContour #theymaxedoutthefreebeer (and wine & gin) 🙂 Richy & I are trim on DJ…. Ahem, we both deserted DJ for the final Warsash weekend, whoops… hard to say no to Caribbean sailing though!! After finally getting through customs, met up with Katy & Sarah and grabbed a cab to the boat…

Hahaha REUNION time – Sue, Louise, Katy, Sarah, Hannah & Christian. Missed them lots, and was fantastic to see them all again. A few additions this time round with Ophelia, Sarah, Anna & Andrew, who hats off were all rather lovely too 🙂

Practise Day – Started off with the usual pre sail boat chat, safety and positions. Told Sue that I’d done my homework and had read the race instructions #learning. Then moved onto chatting about the various manoeuvres we’d be doing and off we went to practise for a few hours… Back to tailing for Christian, and port side grinding for Katy when she was flying the Spinnaker… Reassuringly I hadn’t forgotten the boat or what to do!! 😊 Was really cool seeing how much Hannah & Sarah had progressed in a few months… Made me realise how much more you learn being on a boat for extended periods of time…

Peter & May Round the Island – so whilst this day wasn’t a big deal for most of the others. I had a little EEEK moment in the morning. I realised that this would be my longest race – both in duration and distance. Ok ok so it’s only like 55 miles (around Antigua), but it was still a “first” for me. A bloody long hot day. I’ve now discovered how dull, long arsed beats can be!! You need to keep chatting (quietly) about stuff (anything!!) to try & stay focused (and awake) and keep your head in the game. For me, the psychology behind the day was probably the most interesting – I mean it wasn’t as if we were frenetically doing sail changes all the time… things are a lot slower (after race start of course!!) – time to start making a list of rail games methinks (especially after reading the recent Clipper blogs – wind holes a go go!!) Rather chuft we got 8th outta 17…


28th April Sunday – English Harbour Rum Race Day 1. Should have really written notes through the week, should really blog as it happens so I don’t forget (yea yea I KNOW, I said that at Heineken too) 😉 No Facebook updates either to remind me of the day… I do recall us all being rather knackered after Round the Island…

29th April Monday – Fever Tree Race Day 2. Woke up in a lot of pain, carpal tunnel flared up badly… spent several hours first thing with a cold can beer on my wrist trying to bring down the swelling (we had no ice before you ask!!). Frustrating as it really impacts my gripping ability – seems to be ok when I do single day racing but more than that, flares up. Need to get the season over with, and then I’m going to have to go for the Op ☹ Not my finest day, and where at the end was a little emotional as I really felt I’d let the team down – head wasn’t in the game due to wrist pain and I forgot to keep eyes forward when Sarah was cutting, so I wasn’t tailing at the right moment, meaning that Christian had to do a lot more work on grinding. Its horrible feeling like you’ve let the team down…. Not a feeling I like…

BUT…. Given today’s race was sponsored by Fever Tree, PINK GINs after debrief… YAY, right? Anyone that knows me, knows I can’t say no to Gin… Definitely not YAY… Standing there, watching prize giving… started doing a goldfish impression… Complete state of shock… my bloody ex was on stage… FFS… seriously, I’d come to Antigua to create my own memories, not have to watch him!! I will admit to stomping over to him as he came off stage (tipsy, upset and understandably emotional). Turned out he knew I was going to be there, and assumed the person that had told him, had also told me!! Thanks guys!!!

As you can imagine, was a rather feisty discussion with him not believing I didn’t know. He finally got that I was actually bloody clueless he was going to be there… If I’d known, I guess well, it wouldn’t have been a shock, I would have been prepared, especially given who he was with… No-one likes feeling like an idiot right…

Thankfully, Sarah & Hannah did the proper mate thing and knew that what I needed was a lot of laughing, alcohol and silliness… #missionaccomplished #onwardsandupwards #partybus #katenkwaad 😉


(Sarah, Hannah & me @Shirley heights) (Richy & Me – DJ trim team)

30th April Tuesday – Youth to Keelboat (Y2K) Race Day 3. Proper pep talk with myself when I woke, along the lines of “don’t be a bloody wuss, push through the pain, sort ya shit out jojo and don’t let the team down #headinthegame” (think it worked too!)

A really mixed day – probably the most exhilarating day of racing… two races round the cans, on our favoured course (phew!). We had a brilliant first race, everything just worked – we had an amazing start, tactics were spot on, we all nailed our positions… Also figured out how to grind for the spinny with the wind shifts & wave surfing. On Tigress (and most boats I’ve been on to date) they have two speed winches (think about the gears on your bike), high speed (really quick & light), low speed (slower and heavier) – with the shifty winds, it’s the fast grinding but when we surf down a wave, I’d clocked that the spinny usually collapses, so hard grinding till pressure starts to fill in, and then fast & quick grinding the other way… You know you’re nailing it when you’re not being told when to grind constantly… No-one tells you this stuff, you pick it up by observing and paying attention to the details – see that’s what happens when your heads in the game & you’re focusing… 😉 We absolutely stomped it… and……

…. WE ONLY BLOODY GOT LINE HONOURS (yepp that’s first over line – whoop whoop!). We knew that we didn’t have enough time between us and the rest of the fleet to get a 1st in Class, but line honours still felt pretty damn good…

Our second race, started off ok, wind was incredibly shifty with a funny sea state (lumpy but swirly and surfing waves) – managed to do most of the race, and then on our last leg towards the finish, we hoisted Blackbird, seemed a ok.


(Tigress flying Blackbird)

And then, suddenly out of nowhere the boat was on its side… with most of the crew hanging off various things at rather odd angles… I’d like to say I was terrified, but everything happened so quickly – lotsa shouting, trying to get us righted – main in the water, spinnaker dragging water & keeping us at the angle we were at… Sarah managed to get the working line off and up we popped… crew all on board somehow… scramble forwards to try & pull the rather wet blackbird in & down, rescue the pole that was dragging alongside… deep breaths… and everyone going right…. We’re all cool (whilst rather maniacally giggling)… Sue asked if we wanted to retire, but Andrew pointed out that given we were so near the finish we should carry on. With the race rules, we knew we could discard one of our races but we had to complete all of the races to race 6 to have the ability to discard… So… Unanimous FCUK IT – lets finish this bloody race!! We did… And do you know what the best thing was? We weren’t even bloody last!!

Debrief was interesting today – none of us could figure out what had happened, despite analysing and walking through everything… what I realised, is that sometimes, shit just happens. We broached, but at no point did I feel unsafe or scared and guess what, if and probably when it happens in the future… I know what to do… 😊

Party time with no early morning start…. Abbra’s, rum punches, cage dancing and a dodgy shirt swap from Andrew… the rest of that night…. Well, what goes on tour, stays on tour eh 😉

Wednesday 1st May – Wadadli Lay Day. YAY…. Think we all needed it, we were all shattered (slightly hungover too) and we definitely needed a day of no racing. Chilling and drinking a rum punch or two was very much on everyone’s agenda 😉 Unicorn got his first outing at Pigeon Point beach hehe… Lotsa silliness, laughing… and more drinking… and dancing… we decided to make the most of the apartment, and get chef Christian on cooking duties… He makes the BEST potato salad!! 😊


(Horsfold house crew – Hannah, Christian, Sarah & me)


(Uni’s first outing!!)

Thursday/Friday 2/3 May – Johnnie Walker Race Day 4/KPMG Race Day 5

Ummm yea… more racing 😉 Hehe… and yes no notes, d’oh!!


(Top Left: Sarah, me & Uni sipping Expresso Martini’s. Top Right: Sarah, Uni & me. Bottom: Some of the ASW Tigress Crew)

Last Few Days 😦

Saturday: Sarah, Hannah & I decided to have a chill day of belly browning down at Galleon Beach – sunshine, turtles bobbing in the bay, seashell collecting, followed by a very grown up dinner at Cloggys… Started talking about becoming sea gypsies again – Sarah’s on jewellery making duties, Hannah’s on the baking, me on Photography & website stuff. Sounds like a bloody awesome plan if you ask me!!

Sunday: Sarah had been put firmly in charge of making sure we got to the airport – if you remember I don’t have a great track record of getting flights home from the Carribean 😊

As everyone had left early doors or were getting ready to deliver to boat to the USVIs, Sarah & I spent the day at Catherines on Pigeon Beach (highly recommend it if you’re ever over in Antigua!!). A day spent belly browning, drinking god knows how many daiquiri’s (that Dexter our waiter kept topping up with extra rum shots!), playing music, girly chats and a lot of laughing… it was only towards the end of the day that I realised that whilst Antigua didn’t happen quite as I’d planned, it had worked out better, just in a different way than I had thought it was going to… I’d created my own memories (with the help of some pretty awesome people), made a lot of people laugh dancing round wearing Uni, made new friends, learnt lots sailing and despite the fear of the trip being harder cos the ex was there… in the scheme of things he largely passed me by…. I was too busy focusing on the me and in the here and now… not in the then…. Creating my own memories…

…. And I’m pleased to say that we made the flight home… 😊

Katenkwaad!! 😉