In Boston after the Transat
My arrival in Boston was really quite a memorable affair. I was met by a RIB
about half a mile before the finish line. The occupants were shouting and
cheering and our boat was lit up by spotlight so that photographs could be
taken. Once over the finish line my Dad and a member of Dee's shore crew
kindly came aboard to help, and together we got the sails down and motored
in to Rowes Wharf, which is the marina in front of the Boston Harbour Hotel,
a large and impressive building right in the heart of the city. As we came
alongside it was after midnight, and I was amazed to see so many people on
the dock - I had felt sure that there would be nobody there at that time of
night other than the customs men, but I was very wrong. Sam Davies, Dee and
their shore crews, and seemingly most of the Offshore Challenges people were
there, so there was quite a crowd and I was really rather overwhelmed, both
because it was very strange to be amongst so many people after even
relatively short time alone at sea, infact it was like a sensory overload in
a mild way, but also I was also very touched that they had made such an
effort on my behalf. Sam told me it was customary for the English
competitors to be there for each other's arrivals, which was really nice I
thought, and Jo and Dee had bought me a little bag of goodies - muffins,
cakes and other bits an pieces that were much appreciated - I used them to
soak up the champagne that I had been given for my arrival which was rapidly
having an effect - two weeks with no alcohol destroys your tolerance level!
After completing customs Dad and I found a hotel out of town, so by the time I actually got into bed it was nearly 3 a.m! Seemingly seconds later at 1130 am I was woken by a phonecall from Dad to find that I had a massive hangover! Eventually we headed back to the boat to empty it out and also to remove a line from the propeller which had stopped the engine dead just as we came onto the dock - we were fortunate to be able to drift in the last few yards with no power! Hangover gone, I borrowed Loick Peyron's wetsuit and went over the side, knife in hand to remove a wheelbarrow full of line, two pot buoys and a sizeable piece of tree branch which was about seven feet long! I was asked whether we had been towing all that lot from Lands End, which was why we had taken so long to get here, but we had undoubtedly run into it in the harbour as we motored in!
Whilst I was in the States it gave me chance to see my family over there - amongst them my younger brother who I had not seen for at least a couple of years, so whilst the visits were brief, it was an excellent opportunity to catch up. We also got to the prizegiving in Marblehead for the Class 40s. They had had some really close racing and it was good to go over there, see some friends and show our support.