The weather upon arrival in France was absolutely stunning and luckily stayed very nice throughout the entire Class40 World Championship. Arriving in La Trinité sur Mer after a ferry trip meant getting 40Degrees sorted for their Worlds and practice race. Once that was all sorted I helped an other UK boat to get ready. A last minute change in crewnumber allowed them to actually offer me and another boatless person from the UK to go racing which was awesome.
I ended up doing bow on board Gusilliam (a Simon Rogers design) and had to learn all the stuff all over again; snuffers, furlers, clutches on the foredeck. We had some awesome timing in the first race of the day (timed speed runs), managed to go in every single lull. So we got our discard in the first race, hardly a good start to any event not least a Worlds. However we redeemed ourselves in race 2 (parcours coutiére) with a top10 place (which was the goal set by the team for overall finish place). Afterwards it was time for a joined dinner and music on shore.
On Saturday the French had set out a course around La Belle Ile (44 nautical miles) before another 20-odd mile course in the afternoon finishing at a very decent 19:30hr. Afterwards it was time for oysters and wine organised by the organisation. Then onwards on a quest for food we ended up in a bar on the property of the yachtclub for a quick bite when an amazing band started playing. This resulted in an awesome night with friends and fellow competitors and just a great laugh but made the 8 o’clock breakfast on Sunday not easier… However the results and great conditions really warranted a bit of a night. When Sunday came there was just enough breeze to get the 5th and final race underway. Again a round the cans-style course with plenty of distance. For us it was about 5th place (with a distant possibility of 4th) and when we were in a good position sailed conservatively and managed to secure 5th overall. By the end of the prizegiving the boat was almost ready to go and by 6 o’clock we had left the dock and with a gentle breeze and lovely sunset we left la Trinité sur Mer after a great few days.
The delivery itself was very nice with Fred and Miranda, both hugely experienced not least on 40Degrees. It gave me the opportunity to sail a very different boat to what I’m used to; Designed for shorthanded sailing, wide ass, ballast and dual rudders. We had whales on the way, beautiful sunshine and plenty of waves for fast sailing. However heavy weather was forecasted and good progress was important to be made before it hit us and with a good angle we set up with single reef and fractional spinnaker. With the wind increasing as forecasted but set up for it, it was great sailing at night. It was all good until the autopilot decided to engage and steer the boat through a jibe. Quick thinking of Fred resulted in Miranda and him being able to save the situation but it also meant that the autopilot was off-limits from that moment on since the cause of the autopilot failure could not be found. With the wind further increasing we decided to take the spinnaker down and set up for jib and single reef and putting in another reef later in the night. With the jib instead of spinnaker flying I dared to take the helm again and ended up doing most of the final hundred miles into Hamble all with a huge smile across my face!