Honestly im struggling with motivation to write this one. After such a great initial build up to the Hyeres World Cup regatta, things have some what come crashing back down to earth. When I started writing this I was watching all the other Nacra sailors go out racing! there is something particularly sad about being left on the side lines, Alas i will start from the begining, and explain our disasters one by one.
In the final few days training before thee regatta, Nikki took a whack to her right Knee, this left her with a bit of pain and on recommendation of the physio, we decided to rest her from then through until racing began on the wednesday. After the rest and come race day Nik was back in action and we were ready.
As ever with day 1 of any regatta there was something a little odd, on this occasion is was the huge amount of wind that was blowing. As soon as we left the harbour we knew is was going to be an epic one. But after familiarizing ourselves and getting used to it a bit we felt ready to race. After a solid start the wind increased again and as we all as a fleet approached the windward mark the carnage began. There were boats capsizing all over the place, Nik and I rounded pretty well and started hacking downwind, we were flying! right up until we stuck the bow of the boat in a little, as much as Nik tried she couldn't quite stay in the toe loop. and with that we over in seconds. During the melee Nik managed to hurt her other knee, but this time is was clear to her that it was a bit more serious. After righting the boat and limping back to shore we found a number of other teams who also had had problems. Nik went straight to see the physio, and soon it was obvious that we would not be able to race for the rest of the week!
After getting over the initial disappointment, we made a plan and things began to click back into place. Nik was to fly home that evening to make sure she was available for assessment in england the following day. but just as we were getting organised to go, she was informed that her flight had been cancelled, after a rushed attempt to book another flight that evening we became aware that the french airport staff were staging another strike. After some appointment rearrangement Nik booked in for an early morning flight and things were back on track.
The journey up to Nice airport is about 1 and a half hours so after a nice early alarm Nik and I made our way up the coast. After squeezing into the airport car park and lots of crutch hobbling from there to check in Nik was on her way. I eventually found my way back to the van and starting driving back Hyeres to pack the boat ready to leave for the ferry on sunday. I never made it to Hyeres, about 20 km away while queing, a warning light poped up on the dash board and the power of the van dropped. I dorve really gently to a near by garage where I was told that the Van cant go anywhere until it is fixed and that wont be until Wednesday or Thursday the next week!
After some serious googling and some phone calls to people a lot more mechanically minded than me, I discovered that it may just be a sensor issue, and that by running the van a little it could just flush the problem though. With that I traveled back to garage and began and very entertaining exchange where I attempted to ask people that had told me the van can not move, to let me have the keys and take it for a spin. As you might imagine, this is quite hard in English but throw in the language difference and suddenly it quickly become some sort of comedy sketch.
Eventually with the van keys back in my hand, I went for a drive. With the problem definitely still looming, the van did seem considerably better, so It was decided I was going to give it a go. It was only 1200km back across France to the ferry port, what could possibly go wrong.
After leaving the south of France at 3pm in the afternoon, and after a huge amount of nursing, stopping, allowing the van to rest, starting again and the repeating the process I made it to the ferry port at 5.45 the following the morning. Needless to say I was quite tired by this stage, but managed a couple of hours sleep on the ferry before arriving in Portsmouth. Here I exchanged the van for a fully functioning Volvo, and finished my journey to Cornwall. I have never completed a marathon, but imagine the feeling I have when I made it home, is somewhat similar to that of someone who has just completed a marathon. My own bed never felt so good.
Now back to the important stuff, we have today heard back about nikki's injury. Unfortunately it is not particularly good news, she has ligament damage to her knee and the only way to repair that is by resting it. This means for the next month or so I am Nikki'less (not to be confused with knickerless) With that in mind, unfortunately we won't be going to Rio this month to sail with Ben and Nic, which is really disappointing for both of us. We are currently coming up with a contingency plan for the time Nikki is out, so hopefully I will come back to you guys with some good news in the near future.
For now though, it's all about getting Nikki the support she needs to heal quickly and for me to clear up some of the technical problems we have come across in the last week or so.
Stand by, things can only get better!!!!