OVER THE YARDARM
29th July 2014
There are many, many opportunities for event oragnisers to lose sleep. But it is the nature of the beast not to accept defeat. Even Canute would be in awe at our determined optimism on occasions. And sometimes it even works out. We were working with our amazing friends at TLC in Portugal on an incentive for a brilliant client.
But it does not matter who you work for and how much you care. There are days when the ears of the gods ust ain't tuned in to your prayers. We had had a dinner the night before in Sintra. Hindsight is 20:20 but I just had not clocked that what was glorious by day was cloud-bound by early evening - every evening! As this great image by Sergey Pogodin below illustrates. In the end it did not undermine the party and sunset views were replaced by an atmosphere of mystery. But I had not arranged it and it undid the top-button on my equilibrium.
Anyway, come the dawn and I had had enough of the gods giggling at my attempts to control the universe and set out for our regattta with a light step and glorious sunshine. Big Mistake. We boarded all the crews with their captains and in highly competitive spirit we embarked - onto a millpond. For about an hour - only an hour - that lasted for me for about 30 years.
Every morning - until about 11.00am - there is just a mill pond. The physics of it - the wind is caused by the sun heating up the landmass. That in turn causes the air above it to heat up and hot air rises. As the hot air ascends, nature, whom we all know abhors a vacum, sucks in the cooler air from the sea to fill the gap left by the warm air departing. But this only starts to work once the sun has been up awhile. So why did I not connect ? I can only say that after the night before I was too anxious to get going.
On a good day the Lords of the Universe allow us to learn and still forgive. This was a good day. Our safety marshall hove too beside my RIB (I was taking images as there was little else I could do). He told me that he had been on the phone to his cousin. Of course, I thought, that makes everything better. The cousin was doing national service in the army and they had coastal watch stations along the cliffs. They also had telescopes and they could see the rising of the 'catspaws' - the little flurry of ripples that skirls of wind make travelling fast over the water. They could tell us where the wind was. Yeeehhhaww. Back in business.
We quickly sent a command to follow to all boats and used the motors to steam towards the directions the Army was giving us. Within about fifteen minutes we had gone from the doldrums to racing winds and the regatta was on. The moral of the story - if it needs one - is twofold. Firstly - never ever ever give up. Secondly - you will only ever be as good as your local team. We love our blood brothers in every country we work. They are the wind in our sails.