Today was the naming ceremony for our boat. The official bit. And what a fabulous few hours it was.
After I arrived at the Tower Hotel by taxi two days ago, time seems to have flown. The taxi driver chatted all the way down to London. He said he had picked up people that he really remembered – a stunt lady from the Jurrasic Park movie, and Beth Tweddle to name a couple – and said he was going to remember me in the same way. My god – what an honour! Especially as I was being taken with a Tesco Home Delivery of liquid egg! I didn’t actually mention that to him – I think he thought I just had load of luggage!
As is my want, I upgraded the room to the Executive Level on arrival – after having negotiated the price of course. Free drinks all day, breakfast, snacks and canapés in the evening – all only two minutes from the race village, and therefore very accessible – will be worth it’s weight in gold. I immediately went to the boat with two of the Tesco bags, and found Hugh, Wendy and Michael covered in oil after the engine had broken. Oh dear – not a good start!
I dropped off the first two bags and went back for the next lot. It all went in the fridge, along with the Tupperware full of Nanaimo bars (still think a little bit of bribery and corruption is going to help me along the way). I am not proud. Wendy gave me a handful of fans that had been installed on the boat, and then uninstalled as they were the wrong voltage. How are we going to be able to sleep in 50 degree heat?? Email off to Paul for help! The new ones will be delivered to the Clipper Office on Thursday. How would I manage without him??
Back to the hotel for canapés and drinks, before retiring and not sleeping more than two hours at a time. My mind is just not switching off. Thoughts of running out of food or toilet roll mid atlantic is keeping me awake!
The next morning I had a full day of Mission Performance training. My assumption of this day was that it was going to help me mentally get around the world. The reality was a little different. It was actually for me to help everyone else mentally get around the world.
Those attending from our boat was four round the worlder’s – Matt, Kat, Craig, myself and Phil who is doing leg 5. Michael was due to come, but didn’t turn up – I think the broken engine from last night might have had something to do with it. But what a team we made. I really do believe that I have been allocated the right boat. We had various scenarios to work through, and as a team we performed incredibly well. No-one thought they were in charge – everyone had time to listen to everyone else. This is getting more and more perfect. Only the physical bit of sailing to overcome then! Matt reminded me of my eldest son – 28, so around the right age, very intelligent and his bum hanging out of his trousers. I am going to be able to get along with him I feel!
Kat, a Swedish lady, is very direct and seems very capable. Craig, an Australian New Zealander, is very quiet but extremely capable. And Phil is an English gentleman that seems to know how to do things but is willing to listen to others instead of insisting on doing things his way. And none of them think they are superior to the other – unlike some of the others on other boats.
We left the course thinking that we had picked up some really good tips, and hopefully will be able to pass on some of the tips we had learned today to the rest of our team. We walked back to the Clipper office at St Katharine’s Dock and picked up our official “Race Crew” T shirts. I went back to the hotel and changed into my “large” only to find it was too small. What is going on here?? I went straight back and changed it for an extra large – they said that the sizes were coming up very small. Was that them trying to be kind or honest? Not sure, as the diet had not gone quite to plan in the last few months!! I went to the boat to see if I could be of any help, but everyone was in the process of departing. After having a quick chat with Valerie, it seems that I need to get a few more things on order – so back to the hotel to get the old Tesco Click & Collect in progress. Despite doing extensive research before I left, it seems the only click and collect available in St Katharine’s Dock was Tesco Direct and not Tesco Grocery. So I changed it over to a home delivery to go to the Clipper Office here. Not sure how that one is going to work? Will I ever see it?? Another Makro order went in, as well as a Tesco Direct for Tupperware. Will this ordering ever finish?? I am going to have to get better at this.
So, today was our naming ceremony. At 9am we had to take our passports and yellow fever certificates to the Clipper Office. They took them from us and allocated them to a boat “grab bag”. If we have to abandon ship, there is just one grab bag to take with us with all the important stuff in rather than everyone trying to find their own in a state of emergency. Hopefully, this is just good practice rather than expecting it to happen. I met Jonathan from Colombia in the queue who I sailed with on Level Two. It is amazing how many friends from around the globe I have already made.
Back to our boat, and we were in the process of moving over to the pontoon for the officialities of the day. We didn’t have our “DaNang Vietnam” uniform – it was coming from Vietnam and wasn’t going to be here until Friday. But we did have the orange hat. Oh dear!!
We all got off the boat, and had an introduction by the Ambassador of Vietnam to London, The Deputy Mayor of London, Sir Robin Knox Johnson and of course our own Wendo. She, in no uncertain terms, said she hadn’t come all this way to come second. Fighting talk!! The gong was banged, we were told rain was a good omen (it was chucking it down at this stage) and the champagne was sprayed all over the bow of the boat. I think we might have a very good welcome when we arrive into DaNang next February. Hope I am still hanging in there!
We had a few photos taken, showed a few VIP’s around the boat, ate some lovely Vietnamese food and, of course, had a few glasses of champagne. It was Hugh’s 21st birthday today – what a party!! Emily and I then slipped back to the Tower and had afternoon tea in the Executive Lounge.
We went back to the boat, and got stuck in to a few more of the jobs that needed doing. All the food that had been stored needed mapping on a map, bungee cords needed fitted over cubby holes, sail hanks needed freeing up and endless other little jobs that just keep coming and coming. Then I get a call – Tesco delivery is here. I got off the boat, just in time to see the delivery man bringing the trolly down the ramp to the boat – I think I might do this one again!!
Tiredness creeps on – I think a quick glass of wine back in the Lounge together with a couple of canapés would do me for the evening. Wendy joined me for a quick one – and an hour and a half and several glasses later we have talked through tactics for a happy boat, and have put the world to rights. Let’s hope it helps me sleep tonight!!