Big grins, Med summer and a 60 Ocean racer – Neutrogena Delivery

Conrad Manning Racing_NeutrogenaDelivery
A lovely sunset barely captured by the camera on the first night on Neutrogena

After being fortunate enough to work on the old Hugo Boss boat (now Neutrogena) for a couple of days in the beginning of September, I was offered to join the boat out in Spain to deliver her to St Feliu where she will be till the Barcelona World Race. I have to say, other than being attacked by retched biting insects probably mosquitos, a smile never left my face.

There was thankfully a week’s rest between Ironman Wales and flying out to meet the boat so the legs and body could repair itself ready for playing on an IMOCA 60 in the med. It was planned so that we would be moored up and home for Friday (uni had started) but it wasn’t to be.

It was an early wake up for the 0500 car that was to take me to Gatwick for a flight that can only be described as the best short haul company in the world. Comfortable seats, FREE wifi, lovely staff but what felt like a million crying babies! Definitely can recommend Norwegian Air though (www.norwegian.com/uk/). It was entertaining getting from the airport to the marina with a handful of Spanish words, a marina name and a small rucksack packed for a few days of sailing. It went without a hitch though!

Although the ETA 500NM away was for 4 days we didnt particularly get off on the right foot with barely enough wind to keep us cool whilst hoisting the main (which might I add took bloody ages!) Thankfully it filled in enough so that the C0 could be hoisted and the engine could be turned off.

We were fortunate enough to have just enough wind to spend the majority of the time without an engine giving the two skippers time to practice their manoeuvres before we had to head into Valencia due to some crew changes and some very strong winds forecast (we went from doing 20kts with the A2 and full main to doing 11kts with 3 reefs in about 20minutes!!). Not a particular problem but it did mean I couldn’t make it back in time for a couple of important events…. Nevertheless, spending a day relaxing in Valencia visiting the Mini fleet there and eating loads of tapas shouldn’t be complained about!

With the change of crew done the four of us headed the final 200NM stretch to St Feliu. It started so well with beam reaching under C0 but it was short lived and we ended up bashing upwind until the late afternoon… At least, like before, the weather was spectacular and we didn’t have to turn the engine on much at all! As the sun was setting the wind started to swing round to the right giving Neutrogena the chance to stretch her legs a bit till the morning where even more fun was had with an indecisive wind!

I have to say, even though there was a severe lack of wind it was fantastic to spend a week with a fantastic bunch of people (even if I couldnt understand much) learning how to manage an IMOCA 60, and refreshing my 7 year hiatus from Spanish!

Hopefully there will be a video coming soon but you can follow further adventures on my facebook page ConradManningRacing.

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