The driftathon that was J.P.Morgan’s Round the Island Race 2014 Part 1- Getting over there

Conrad Manning Racing_RTI14
Dinner video, unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of DameEllen’s talk

It was quite a last minute decision to race in this year’s RTI race when I replied to an email from Britannia during a previous charter event in Lymington. It was mainly due to the persuasion from Big George describing the great time that he had with the JPMorgan clients in a previous year.

This charter was very different to previous events due to the precision and detail that the boats needed to be prepared. After a much appreciated lift to Hamble at the joyous time of 0800 (suppose its better than 0500 when my housemate leaves for work…), and meeting Jamie the skipper who I had not met previously… Thankfully we got off to a great start that continued throughout the weekend and both positively worked off each other.

The clients (terribly formal so crew will be used from now on), a mixture of JPMorgan employees and their friends/family/colleagues/’customers’ turned up at around 3ish for a safety briefing and a quick yacht over to the Isle of Wright. Our crew decided that they would go straight to Banana Wharf for a bite to eat so rocked up slightly later, but not a problem as, like me, they were ensuring their bellies were full before heading out!

On our way over we practiced a few tacks and considered getting the kite out the bag but decided that the crew were competent enough to manage that when the time comes. Thankfully there was actually some wind though as I can imagine the w/e would not have started on the right foot if we just ended up floating over. Like Cowes Week, Cowes Yacht Haven was absolutely chock-a-block with boats and we were rafting 5 boats in between each finger, literally with no space between them… It was almost as if they had been designed to fit all the 40.7s in.

Dinner that night was delicious at the event centre post the required couple of drinks at the JPMorgan tent to get to know the crew a bit better. We were very fortunate to sit right at the front by the stage giving us the prime seats in the house for Dame Ellen MacArthur’s pre dinner speech about her tips and tricks for getting around the IoW in one piece with everyone still talking/onboard at the end. She also regaled us with stories from her past few ventures around the world. Her stories are still as riveting as when she visited our school in Shanghai MANY moons ago with B&Q. Still have her signed book and a photo next to the boat somewhere at home…

Thankfully everyone kept to the suggested ‘lets have a quiet night’ tactic and we called it a night at around 2300ish after dinner.

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