A week ago last Saturday was the biggest day of race prep yet: crew allocation. This was it - we would find out who our skippers and crew were. That meant we could really dive into our game plan for the race.
The morning started early (really early) as I had to catch the train from London to Portsmouth (why was I in London when I’m Somerset-based? Had to visit the embassy and get more pages put into my very full passport). I did meet a couple of crew members on the train (follow the red jackets and/or the sailing logos), so that both kept me awake and made the journey more enjoyable. From the station it was off to the Guildhall (with a quick pit-stop to drop my bags at the hotel) for photos and breakfast, not to mention catching up with many of the people I met during my various trainings in Singapore and Gosport. Eventually we made our way into the auditorium for the main event.
Before allocating crews, we were given updates on various race issues: stopovers (Recife? Sydney!), the state of the boats (they should all be here before the race starts, hopefully, haha). Sir Robin made a short speech designed to inspire us. Then: the skippers! The level of nervous excitement in that room as they started calling names was through the roof. PATIENCE. Have it (I’m not so great at that one). Every so often I saw names I recognized from training and then - all of a sudden there was my name! Team Matt. TEAM MATT! I did a little happy dance in my chair while trying to remain cool and collected, but seriously. TEAM MATT. I wanted a young skipper, and boy did I get one. It was quite difficult to sit through the rest of the names after that. Gave me time to analyze the rest of the boats (Asian names? Definitely Qingdao boat. Irish skipper, Irish names, wonder who’s going to be be sponsoring that one. Same goes for an Aussie boat).
When that was all finished up we broke up into crews to go discuss strategy. Three of us from Team Matt got pulled aside to be interviewed (how are you feeling about your new skipper, what was it like waiting for your name to be called, etc —- followed my me doing my best to smile and make up some semblance of an answer). Represent.