Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Round the Island Race

Velsheda appearing at dawn
The fleet

What a fantastic weekend.

Headed off to Port Solent on Thursday to pick up our boat, a Jenneau 37. By the time we'd shopped, sorted out and sat down to eat surrounded by the other seventy Sunsail charters it was around ten. I knew six of the eight crew, as it was a 'village' boat, a tradition which goes back a while and we were racing against another crew from the village who had hired the same type of boat. Of the eight crew I knew six, and of the other two, one was very good company, and the other a bit of a cock.

Suitably hungover, the next day we sailed to Cowes and had a bit of a practice. Not much wind and bloody hot, shorts and tee shirt stuff. My chum who had organized the trip had pulled a blinder, and our berth was bang outside the Cowes Yacht Haven, with easy access to the showers and shitters. ( Taking a dump on an eight berth boat after a chilli the night before is not thought to be socially acceptable).

In the evening, some went to watch the footie on the big screen in the marina, whilst not being English or particularly enjoying football, I was happy to chew the fat and cook my mean Thai yellow (chilli, Thai curry, not nice to shit onboard, see our mistake?)

We then had to get up at half past fucking three in the morning to make our start time of 0520. The starts are staggered at ten minute intervals according to class, and I was not that fussed as we would be able to see the Maxiyachts going off first from our holding area. We were bumbling around, supping a last coffee before thinking about our start when the most beautiful sight appeared through the soft orange of the dawn. The J class Velsheda at full tilt. What a vision. Apologies for geekiness, but this alone made my weekend, and my piss poor photography doesn't do her justice.

In all we took around nine and a half hours to complete the race and finished a shameful fifth from bottom in our class, losing to the other village boat by fourteen minutes in the process. But what a sail, gusting up to twenty three knots, full wets on all day, but with glorious sunshine. Everywhere you looked were sails.

We berthed up and seriously beered, and then met our victorious chums in a very good prebooked ( imagine the crowds, Phil's organization was superb) Italian restaurant, followed by a great little pub, and then a bad trip down a bottle of gin back at the boat.

The trip back to Port Solent after a dodgy full English was a quiet one.

A cracking long weekend, and I'm signed up for next year.


Must get a post with pics up about the island race, had a wonderful time but bloody knackered after getting up at 0330 to get to the start line.

Taking another skive tomorrow, a mate has just offered me a corporate freebie to the one day international in Cardiff. Corporate tickets in sport are a bad thing...........................................

Until you get offered them!.

Note to self, stop doing fun stuff and get on with some work you bloody slacker.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bits and pieces

We went to a Help for Heroes event on Sunday and all had an excellent time.

There was an airshow with Tornadoes, a Sea King, a Spifire, brilliant.

The Army had loads of tanks and assorted vehicles which they were quite happy for us to clamber in and out of, and even showed the boys how to operate some of electronic gizmos.

The police had a great display of vehicles and put on a cracking fake armed robbery with the dog team and firearms officers.

It was a great day out, and hopefully raised a lot of money. Everyone gave their time for free with one glaring exception who charged the organisers for the use of the disused airfield where it was held.

The Ministry of Defence. Simply staggering.

As the oil leak rumbles on we see American politicians fight to be a the front of the queue to hammer BP. If, as it would appear, that BP are culpable, then they must be held to account and pay. The same politicians would be mindful to remember a company called Union Carbide and what happened, and continues to happen in Bhopal twenty six years after the event. I hope BP do not follow Union Carbide's example in dealing with coorporate disaster.

Right, I'm off to pack my bestest sailing gear in preparation to race around the Isle of Wight. Nearly 1800 entries, should be quite a spectacle. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the J class yacht 'Velsheda'' racing, which is quite possibly the most beautiful object ever designed and built by man.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The wisdom of HMR & C

Today I received a letter from HMR &C stating that my corporation tax return for, wait for it 2006, yes 2006, had been filed late and that there was a penalty 0f £204.26 to pay.

I was fairly sure that this was bollocks, as I am anal regarding my tax affairs, so I rang them to chew the fat.

Despite my protests, they insisted it was payable and guess how long they gave me to pay before taking legal action?

Twenty four hours.

After waiting four years to notify me, they want to be paid within twenty four hours of receiving notification. I can't even clarify it with my accountant in that timeframe.

There is no point in even attempting to convince the droid at the other end of the phone line that in the real world (the one outside of the civil fucking service) this would not be considered in any way reasonable.

Cocksucking fuckwombles the lot of them.