This weekend Ros kindly let me loose with my brothers and the camera, so here are some pictures of our sailing adventure. We took part in the Isle of Wight Challenge, a 55 mile race in aid of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. The wind was so strong (47mph at times) that we only needed half of the sail area, as you can see above where the rear sail isn't pulled fully up the mast.
The race was originally intended to go around the Isle of Wight but the strong winds were causing waves over 10 feet high on the exposed side of the island, so instead we raced along the north side, between the island and the mainland.
Here are some of us sitting on (over!) the windward side of the boat. This keeps the boat more upright and allows the sails to work harder, pushing us along at about 12 knots (14 mph) here. Its actually quite comfortable sitting up in the air like this (except when a big wave hits and you get soaked!) You can just about see the strong safety rail we're leaning over, and we're all wearing life-jackets just in case.
It was pretty cold even in the occasional sunshine, hence we were well dressed for the occasion!
The boat was only 2 months old and very well equipped.
Here she is being returned at the end of the weekend, without a scratch as you can see, thanks largely to my brother Mark who works as a professional skipper (captain), taking out groups who charter these boats, and teaching people to pass their skipper's qualifications.
Inside there's room for 8 to live (10 at a push) in the main cabin plus one forward and 2 to the rear.
This is how the main cabin looked at the start of the weekend. Which is pretty much how we left it - apart from 4 plates that managed to force their way out of the locked cupboard and crash to their doom while we were leaning severely. Maybe they'll be replaced by plastic ones for future voyages.
(PS I'm the tall, dark hansome one!)