Crew member on GBR521R Toe in the Water
The shortest Fastnet i have ever done...
We had been as prepared as we could be. The start was a great start for us with lots of pace crossing the line, a small incident with a Volvo 70 saw him completing penalty turns. Then we were swept up Cowes Rhodes with the tide, although a dwarf in comparison we were competing with the top boats in the class.
A stunning upwind beat saw being posted as 2nd in Class on the tracker with the guys all looking nervous with their heads out of the boat hiking hard for that extra 5% of boat speed to reel in our rivals. The race was on, finally they were given the opportunity to show everyone what they were worthy of, legs or no legs!
It was due North of the needles where disaster struck. The port primary winch pulled itself from the boat taking with it the internal fixings for the grinders for the winches. There was a quick evaluation of the situation as the headsail was lowered by the crew in a smart military like fashion but then reality struck. The damage was so great that there was no way that we could carry on.
The winch left a gaping hole not only in the hull but in the stomachs of the boys who had achieved so much through the adversity of rehabilitation post-conflict / injury and qualifying through the RORC races that they could even consider being on the start line of such a prestigious race only for that chance to be taken away so easily. As one of the boys said whilst removing his prosthetic limb on the trip back "lets face it you've only got to look at us and you can see were not the luckiest guys in the world!"
I beg to differ. I have had a great time with these injured servicemen through the qualifying races and the preparation period and, except for the pirate jokes, I have to say I was very lucky to share their journey. We will see you again in 2 years on the start line of the Fastnet 2015!
Lloyd hamilton, Skipper
Toe in the Water - Team Endeavour
Sent from my iPad
Capt Lloyd I Hamilton MBE
TOE IN THE WATER - Competitive Sailing for Injured Servicemen