Avi’s Colleague: London?
Avi: Yes, London. You know: fish, chips, cup ‘o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary f # cking Poppins … LONDON.
X / F “Big jackpot”
Heathrow International Airport was greeted with an hour and a half queue for passport control, in the best traditions of his native Sheremetyevo: stuffy and crying children. We must pay tribute to the border guards: mothers with children after some time began to be taken out of the queue. Several times, airport workers measured the speed of the queue, giving tickets with the time stamp to those standing in the tail.
Finally, it was our turn. Having heard horror stories about English “immigration” I am preparing for interrogation with passion, but the officer asked only one question, why am I here? And hearing in response: “Sailig, Sir!” silently slapped the stamp into my passport.
It should be noted that obtaining an English visa greatly reduced the number of participants in our regatta. In practice, applications for a visa in Moscow were considered by the leisurely British from 3 weeks to a month, given the fact that the regatta was held in September, many refused for fear of being left in August without a passport: “You see, old man, if I don’t take my wife to Turkey, it will be possible to put a cross on the sail. Forever and ever.” Understand. There remained, however, one loophole in the form of an express visa, it was issued in three working days and 15,000 rubles in St. Petersburg. Not cheap and with personal presence.
Finally, all the slingshots and obstacles were passed, the luggage was received. All have found a friend and are ready for achievements. We throw things into the minibus and in an hour and a half we are at the goal. Portsmouth greeted us with rather fresh weather: a week earlier, hurricane Katya, which was expected on the east coast of the United States, suddenly turned around and by the beginning of our regatta it had subsided before the storm was in the North Sea. And even though we were a little farther south, the “bricks” flew here too.
On the spot we were met by a representative of Sansale, a kind English guy named Andy, Andy Wallace, Mr. Wallace, well, the one who solves all problems. Having clarified some questions about the procedure for accepting boats, having received “access codes” to showers and a pontoon, the opening hours of local retail outlets, we go to take the mat part, buy provisions and empty the nearby shops of yacht junk.
Footnote: Sunseil bought exactly the same First 40 Club Racer cruise and racing yachts from the French shipyard Beneteau 42 this year in Vienna. As far as I know, this is the largest single-design fleet of this size in Europe. And since monotype regattas in the tradition of our 45FT regatta, we could not pass by such a magnificent fleet.
The Solent Strait Race is the perfect thing in itself. The presence on one side of a powerful tidal current reaching up to 4 knots, on the other side protected from the ocean swell by the Isle of Wight, makes this place a unique stadium for sailing competitions.
The next morning we have the captain’s briefing, meet our flight officer named Simon and the latest forecast. The forecast is completely disappointing. Despite the fact that the guys are eager to fight, there will be no races today, the wind is even greater than yesterday, and although most of the crews already have experience in racing on yachts of this class, we decide not to risk it. Accordingly, the race schedule and route are going to hell.
We definitely don’t make it to Weymouth, where the Olympic marina is. Simon urgently rebooks places in the marinas, we are going to the city to look at the unattainable Isle of Wight from the observation deck of a local architectural landmark, the Spinnaker Tower.
The next day, the forecast is finally happy. Having sluiced off, we go out into the strait, we anchor, marking the starting line between the buoy and the judge’s vessel. It should be noted that there are countless buoys in the strait; many have proper names in addition to alphanumeric designations.
We announce the distance in the English manner: 15 minutes before the start, on the radio from the judge, we transmit the order of rounding the buoys, the number of loops (triangles), as well as the location of the finish. The route is immediately duplicated on the railings of the referee’s vessel in the form of colored plates with numbers and numbers in A4 format.
The judiciary is a well-worn old woman Jeannot and our gallant crew: me, our permanent judge Veniamin Gusev, flight officer Simon and his faithful assistant to old times Bill. Bill is a veteran of the Falklands War, a lover of classical music and tyranny of sardine fishing. And Bill was an excellent (in Simon’s opinion) cooked every morning porridge, but don’t laugh, that very oatmeal.
I never dared to try this masterpiece of English cuisine, preferring it to the tried and tested fried eggs with bacon, but in all seriousness I can say that already 15 minutes after cooking, the porridge set no worse than cement mortar. And for me it has always remained a mystery how Billy washes the pan from this mysterious substance.
In general, English cuisine, or rather its complete absence, is a topic for another conversation. What we know about this mysterious island: “London is the capital of Great Britain”, Nelson, Trafalgar, Stonehenge, tea at five and “The proud Brit will never become a slave”, so to speak, are the bright sides of the English image. And what about the inside out: fish and chips fried in oil, strange-looking power outlets, separate hot and cold water taps, right-hand drive and that very oatmeal.
So, the first race day is over, everyone is safe, got a fair amount of adrenaline and wants to sprinkle it with a good pint of local ale. We go to the legendary capital of yachting Coats.
Crooked streets, countless yacht and yacht benches, the Insinor boat on which our guys drove Fastnet this year, English ale, Irish Guinness, that very Royal Yacht Squadron castle, polished to a shine, shining with copper cannons, a two-hundred-year-old lawn and the Queen’s question : “And who comes second?” There are no seconds here, Your Majesty.
As an instant the remaining racing days flew by, there was a calm and a race in the 35-knot wind and the very one for which it was worth starting all this, the race around the Isle of Wight. There were serious breakdowns, replacement of the boat and “man overboard” and protests, everything happened. It is difficult to describe on paper the smell of algae, the rush of a tidal wave, a gust of wind that puts the yacht with a reefed sail in the green water, all this must be experienced on your own skin, felt with your own hands, and perhaps there is no better place for this than Solent.
Congratulations to the crew of Andrey Samoilov, who took first place at the 45ft Solent 2011 regatta!