1st September 2018
We had 4 days left to sort ourselves and RR out before we needed to leave to join my eldest daughter Grace on ‘Cambria’.
Grace is the engineer on ‘Cambria’ she had managed to secure us places on the crew for the race week in Imperia.
‘Cambria’ a ‘Big Class’ cutter built by William Fife in 1928 was competing in the Panerai Classic regattas, which is a series of races held in different locations around the world.
‘Cambria’ enters all those that take place in the Mediterranean as she is based in Cannes.
We had known about this for a few months but couldn’t really believe it to be true until Claire had booked us an Airbnb in Imperia close to the harbour where the classic fleet was going to be moored.
We had looked at three different ways to get to Imperia which is in Northern Italy reasonably near San Remo. They were using public transport, flying or hiring a car.
Public transport was reasonably cheap but not very straight forward, flying was quite cheap but very difficult getting transfers etc, so we hired a car which wasn’t too bad on price either. It proved a very good choice as we discovered later that we had to take our own bedding for the flat!
We left Monfalcone at 08.00 letting Erica in the marina reception know that we were off. It took around 7 hours to drive door to door using the toll roads which proved to be quite expensive at 60 Euros each way!!
Imperia is very old, with very narrow streets most of which had parking for residents only. Even though we were staying in an apartment there we didn’t have and couldn’t get a parking permit, so we had to unload the car about 500 meters from the front door carrying it up two flights before finding a good parking place for the car which really needed to be free as we were going to leave it unattended for a week.
All this was a bit of a nightmare after a 7 hour drive but we sorted it out.
Once we had unpacked, we headed down to the harbour which was a short walk away.
There were many classic yachts already berthed in the harbour. They looked beautiful. All the varnished woodwork glowing in the evening sun.
The harbour was full of activity, a stage was being built, a large hospitality tent was being erected with many smaller tents being put up in every space available.
My phone pinged, it was a message from Grace letting us know that they were about 15 minutes away which was great as they had had a busy few days. They had left the Balearic islands two days ago where they had members of the owners family on board. They then sailed to their base in Cannes to swap the cruising sails out for the racing set before coming on to Imperia.
After a while we could see a mast above the sea wall. I wasn’t sure if it was Cambria as it looked quite small but it kept on growing, getting taller every minute until it was obvious that it could be no other yacht. Her mast is about 47 meters tall, often the tallest in the classic racing fleet.
She looked beautiful as she rounded the sea wall entering the harbour, spinning around before reversing into her spot on the quay.
Grace was busy on deck but she took time to wave to us before attending to her duties at the mast.
It was really good to see her again. The last time we were together was over a year ago when she sailed with us for 5 weeks on RR from Rome to Sicily. She looked really well.
Soon the gang plank was lowered, and we were invited on-board.
After hugs all round Grace introduced us to the crew. They seemed and were a very friendly bunch. I knew then that we were going to have a very good time.
We were left on deck to look around while Grace and the rest of the crew sorted the boat and themselves out.
I know those who don’t sail may struggle to understand the attraction that sailing yachts, especially old sailing yachts have for someone like me. Just walking around the deck of this wonderful, historic sailing yacht was giving me goose bumps.
135 ft of Wood and varnish, beautiful curves, huge blocks and winches with polished brass and of course that impossibly tall wooden mast and huge boom.
I still cant quite believe that not only were we allowed to walk around this beauty we were going to be racing on her, not once but 4 times.
All to soon Grace was back on deck looking pretty and ready for a drink or two. We followed the rest of the crew to a bar in town where we drank and chatted long into the night.
It was great to see Grace looking at home and happy now with her crew. When she first joined Cambria I think it was so different from what she was used to. She was missing her friends, she started to have second thoughts about her career choice. Joining any new, long standing team is hard but even more so when your living on board a boat sharing a mixed sex cabin and spending 24 hours a day everyday together.
We got back to our flat just after midnight, exhausted. We had had a very long, exciting day.
We were down at the quay by 09.30.
We had our deck shoes with us, we were wearing beige shorts as instructed. I was still struggling to believe that we were going to be part of the crew.
Grace came to meet us on the dock and took us into the hospitality tent opposite the boat for a cup of coffee and a croissant. She told us that all race crews could come in here any time it was open, that they served coffee and croissants in the morning and wine and cheese in the evening after the racing and that it was all for free.
The doorman and I became great friends!
We were soon back on ‘Cambria’ where we gathered with the rest of the crew by the forward hatch. Chris Barkham, the skipper welcomed us all on-board, making it clear that we were all here to enjoy ourselves whilst sailing ‘Cambria’ as fast as she could possibly go.
He stressed that there was to be no shouting whatsoever. Dave, the first mate would control all sail hoists, sail trimming etc. We, the crew were to keep our eyes on him while Chris along with the tacticians John and woody would get us around the course as fast as possible.
We were given our positions for the racing, I was on the starboard staysail sheet opposite Grace who was on the port staysail sheet.
Claire was on the running back stays. Running backstays are a very important part of this boat as they help support the huge mast. There are always two on a yacht, port and starboard. They have to be set and released as the yacht tacks. When the sail is over on the port side the starboard backstay is set and vice versa.
Chris told us that we were going out for a practice race. We would be leaving in a couple of hours.
I was so excited.
First though we had to remove any heavy, unnecessary items from ‘Cambria’ to make her lighter therefore faster. The most obvious was the huge anchor along with it's chain.
With Dave on the windlass the anchor was slowly lowered into the murky waters of the harbour along with all of the chain. As the bitter end of the chain made its appearance from the chain locker a long strong rope was threaded through the last links before it too went over the side. The end of the rope was then paid out before being tied to one of the old mooring rings on the dock to be retrieved when the racing was over.
The next thing was the long and very heavy wooden spinnaker pole. It was lowered from it's usual place which is upright against the mast onto our shoulders. There were eight of us, all quite strong but we could of done with a few more as we walked the pole towards the stern, over the gang plank, which was a little tricky before laying it gently on the quay upon some strategically positioned coils of rope to protect it's varnished lustre.
I stood on the dock for a few minutes to get my breath back and noticed that every other yacht was doing the same to a lesser or greater extent.
There were piles of furniture (many of the larger classic yachts have heavy wooden chairs and tables on-board), unwanted sails, coils of rope, spare fuel cans, out board engines, inflatable dinghy’s some yachts were emptying their water tanks. There were mattresses, bedding. It looked more like a bootsale than a harbour full of classic yacht’s.
When I went back onboard Lou the very nice, very capable stewardess issued everyone with their ‘Cambria’ T shirts, caps and gilets. She told us that we could keep the caps and T shirts but not the gilets.
We soon looked part of the crew. Claire and I knew enough to keep out of the way while Cambria was made ready for sea.
The weather was perfect as we cleared the harbour. Bright sunshine with a 10 knot breeze disturbing the surface of the water creating white caps here and there.
The skipper was trying to find a bit of clear water to hoist the main which was proving quite difficult as there were beautiful classic yachts everywhere. It was a fantastic sight.
The regular crew took up positions around the mast with Lou on the main winch as Chris bought the yacht around head to wind.
Chris asked quietly for a starboard hoist and without another word the huge mainsail started to rise up the mast as Lou controlled the hoist with the huge, powered winch.
We stood by along the length of the boom removing the sail ties one by one as the sail filled the sky.
It was massive.
Soon the boom was lifted from it's crutch as the mainsail reached the top of the mast.
Chris spun the wheel, filling the sail with wind. Cambria heeled slightly with the bow pushing through the small swell.
The staysail and 2 jibs were hoisted next which brought the total sail area to 765 Sq Meters. That’s almost the size of two tennis courts!!!!
When all three headsails were up and set Grace went below to turn the engine off.
I was so happy, sitting there with the staysail sheet in my hand, looking down the length of the boat at Claire sitting on the gunwale smiling.
How lucky were we.
We spent the next couple of hours going through tacking and gybing. All were completed very quietly and calmly. All I heard from where I was sitting was ‘Helms a lee’ from Chris which means that he was spinning the wheel to bring the bow of the yacht through the eye of the wind.
Once through Grace eased her sheet while I pulled mine in, wrapping it three or four times around the winch using the power button to drive the drum whilst looking at Dave for trimming instruction.
The rest of the crew were doing their jobs simultaneously and soon Cambria was sliding through the water on her new heading. Wonderful, really wonderful.
Around 2 in the afternoon I heard a strange noise, like someone pretending to play the trumpet. Doodooloodoloodododo. It was Lou. She was circulating amongst the crew with the most wonderful sandwiches. They were absolutely delicious.
All to soon the practice was over, we dropped all sail before heading back into the harbour.
There were people all along the sea wall waving, taking pictures. It felt like we were the stars of the show.
Once we were moored back on the dock. All halyards were coiled neatly at the mast. Sheets were coiled and stowed in the forward locker. The fore sails were stowed in their bags.
A hose was used to wash the decks, varnished woodwork and brass with fresh water before the majority of the crew, armed with shammy leathers wiped it all down to leave the boat looking ship shape and Bristol fashion.
Beers were bought on deck along with the left overs from lunch.
Once again we were all gathered by the forward hatch. There were about 22 of us. The atmosphere was very friendly with plenty of banter between us all.
A folding ‘directors’ type chair was found for ‘Woody’ being placed for him in the shade of the boom.
The skipper stood up to tell us that he was very pleased with the practice, that the weather was forecast to be light all week. He thought we should do well but it depended a lot on the courses set by the race officer.
He asked us to all be back on board by 19.00 for dinner after which we were going to hit the town again.
After checking with Grace that there were no other chores to do, Claire and I pushed through the crowds gathered around the gang plank to head back to our apartment for a shower via the hospitality tent of course for a free Prosecco and a glass of red wine.
It felt good walking through the crowds with our ‘Cambria’ t-shirts on. We felt part of what all these thousands of people had come to see.
Now we realised how good the location of our apartment was. It meant that we could pop back for a shower, change of clothes and a bit of well earned rest before heading back to the boat for our evening meal.
We were very happy that we were getting three meals a day on ‘Cambria’ as it kept our day to day living costs to a minimum which allowed us to spend more on drink in the evening!
Returning later via the hospitality tent we kicked our shore shoes off at the gang plank before stepping on-board for dinner.
Everyone was there, some were already eating so Claire and I joined the queue which started at the forehatch quickly moving below decks to the galley where we found large bowls of chili con carne, salads and fruit with a large basket of bread for good measure.
Once back up on deck we found ourselves a spot to sit. There was beer and or rose wine in the cooler. The food was delicious and the company even better.
‘Woody’ turned up and a chair for him was placed near the mast. Lou bought him a plate of food and a beer appeared by his side as if by magic. It was obvious that he held a very special place in the crew of Cambria. He is quite old, late 70’s early 80’s maybe. Very charming, very knowledgeable, with endless stories of his life mostly spent it would seem on sailing yachts of all shapes and sizes.
He told us about his rescue from the stricken yacht ‘Drum’ owned by Simon le Bon from the band Duran, Duran during the 1985 Fastnet race.
‘Drum’ was designed and built to compete in the 1985 Whitbread round the world race and was entered in the Fastnet race for crew training, equipment testing and fine tuning of the yacht.
The weather was quite bad but ‘Drum’ a 70ft Maxi yacht was designed to cope with much worse.
Not long after the start, just off Falmouth the keel failed, detaching itself from the yacht resulting in the yacht capsizing trapping most of the crew inside.
Woody was lucky to be on deck at the time, scrambling over the guard rails onto the hull as the yacht slowly went over.
Some of the crew, including Simon Le Bon were trapped inside for about 40 minutes before a Royal Navy search and rescue helicopter from 771 squadron arrived on the scene with divers to help them get out.
The yacht was salvaged and repaired.
After dinner we helped clear away the plates while Lou, Toby the chef, Grace along with the rest of the regular crew cleaned the galley which included a floor cleaning race!!
The crew left the boat in ones and two’s meeting up in the same bar as yesterday evening.
There were more crews out now and it was great to see everyone talking, catching up with friends not seen since the last regatta.
We had a bit of a bar crawl along the front before ending up back in the one we started in.
There were a lot more people in town now. Most bars had music or a band. The atmosphere was fantastic.
Another late night!!
My bed felt wonderful back in the apartment, Claire and I were knackered. It was all I could do to kick my flip flops off before I fell into a deep sleep.
6th September. Race 1
After saying Ciao to my friend the doorman through a mouthful of croissant Claire and I made our way to ‘Cambria’s’ gang plank. It was hard to find as the crowds were lining the quay so we just headed for the tallest mast!
We gently pushed through the on lookers before kicking our flip flops into the shoe basket and stepping over the wooden spinnaker pole, this was becoming second nature to us now.
We made our way to the forward hatch saying hi to the other crew members. Claire took our rucksack with our valuables in down below stowing them under Grace’s bunk.
We needed to be off before 11.00 to get out, get the sails hoisted ready for the start.
The practice had paid dividends as we all knew where we should be and what we should be doing.
The course set for us was a long up wind leg following the shore in the direction of Genoa, rounding a buoy to port for an even longer down wind leg, passing Imperia heading in the direction of San Remo to another buoy rounded to port before a beat up to the finish line.
The wind was very light and I couldn’t see us doing very well as although we carried a lot of canvas we carried a lot of weight too. Cambria weighs in at 160+ tons!!
There were about 50 classic yachts in the regatta so the race course was going to be quite busy.
There was two starts. The larger, faster yachts were off first with a second start 5 minutes later for the smaller yachts.
It was really great to see so many classic yachts milling around for the start. What wasn’t so great was the small power boats and RIB’s racing around us as well trying to get that perfect picture. Some of them came very close calling for us to look this way and that!! It really was annoying sometimes.
Our 5 minute gun went off as Chris bought us onto the wind with the start line in the distance. As the minute gun sounded, we were still a few hundred yards off the line but Chris had timed it to perfection hardening up slightly to pass very close to the committee boat.
We were off. I just couldn’t believe how well Cambria sailed in a very light breeze.
‘Mariska’ (Sail No D5) was out in front. She is another beautiful yacht from the William Fife stable. She was built in 1908. She is gaff rigged and shorter than Cambria at 90ft but crucially weighing only 35 tons.
She was going slightly quicker than us for the first few hundred meters then ‘Cambria’ got into her ‘groove’ and we just sailed right past her. It was fantastic.
We were pointing better too which meant that ´Mariska’ and some of the other gaff rigged yachts following were going to have to tack before the mark where we could make it in one.
We passed the windward buoy for the shorter course. There were two courses set for each race, the longer one for us, the bigger yachts and one a mile or so shorter for the smaller yachts in the fleet.
As we neared our buoy, we started to get the huge spinnaker out of its bag that was stored on deck, getting it ready to hoist.
We were first to the windward mark which was fantastic. Chris held off the spinnaker hoist for a few minutes after rounding the buoy but once he gave the word there was a flurry of activity as the head of the spinnaker was hoisted to the top of the mast in its sock.
A sock as the name suggests, is a cover that keeps the sail contained in a tube made of very thin cloth. Once hoisted a line tied to a zip that runs the length of the sock is pulled and the sail is released quickly filling with air. It's HUGE!!!! Around 700 Sq Meters. A tennis court is about 260sq m! It was like being on the inside of a hot air balloon and impossible to photograph.
Once this was set all three fore sails are lowered to the deck allowing all the breeze through to the spinnaker.
Claire, Ezzy and Juliette folded the sock on the deck, stowing it in the sail bag.
On the down wind leg most of the crew get to sit back and enjoy the ride as the spinnaker is controlled by just two trimmers under the watchful eye of Dave.
We had a good lead on the other yachts in our class.
I heard the now, very welcome Doodoloododoloodoo, as Lou bought the sandwiches round. They tasted better than ever.
Chris had to guide us through the rest of the smaller fleet as we slid past the shorter course marker. The racing rules state that the windward boat, which was us had to avoid all those yachts that were still beating towards their mark.
We were going well but ‘Mariska’ was definitely faster than us down wind. She was hugging the shore which was paying off as she seemed to be getting a bit more breeze there.
It was a long downwind leg and Mariska rounded the mark about 5 minutes before us, bugger!! Still we knew that we were faster up wind we just needed the time to catch her up.
We had to gybe this enormous kite (spinnaker) and mainsail to get to the mark as Mariska had done before us. I think we were all secretly hoping that they would make a mistake as they gybed, but they didn’t!!
Our gybe went well, three or four crew went aft to the mainsheet to help Tam pull the sheets through the blocks at speed to help control the huge boom while the rest of us helped ease the spinnaker sheets around the forestay as Cambria gybed round onto her new course. Perfect.
Now we just needed our spinnaker drop and fore sail hoist to go really well for us to be in with a fighting chance.
As we approached the mark, Chris asked Dave to hoist the staysail inside of the spinnaker. This was to provide Cambria with some drive while the spinnaker was being dropped.
Grace was on the port staysail sheet, I can’t tell how great it was to be racing with my girl again.
The rest of us had to get this huge sail down as quick as possible.
Lou was on the halyard winch, Claire, Ezzy, Juliette helped by John were waiting amid ships opposite side to the boom. The sail bag was draped over the galley’s skylight ready for the sail.
Will and Toby were on the lazy sheet making ready to pull the clew (corner) of the sail in before passing it under the boom to the girls.
I was with Rhod, Scott, and Rowan forward trying to keep the foot of this huge sail out of the water as it came down.
Jean Me and Christoph were on the spinnaker sheets
Chris and Dave were looking intently at each other, waiting for the last possible moment to drop this huge sail before we rounded the mark because as soon as we started dropping it our boat speed would decrease until we were round, beating again with all sails set.
Chris just nodded at Dave who said ‘OK let’s have it down’
Lou on the halyard winch had the most important job. She had to drop it as fast as we could gather it in. If she dropped it too fast it would certainly end up in the water which would virtually stop Cambria as it would act like a large sea anchor with a very good chance of ripping the sail in the process. If, on the other hand she dropped it too slowly it would delay us because we couldn’t turn onto our new course or hoist the other two fore sails until the spinnaker was down. So she had to judge how well we were doing as she lowered away.
What can I say, it went very well indeed, Will and Toby hauled in on the sheet handing it under the boom to the girls who started to gather it in while stuffing it into the bag.
Once they had started Lou began to ease the halyard and the sail began to drop that’s when our little team on the foredeck started our work, grabbing the foot of the sail hauling it in and aft as quickly as we could.
All this was done in silence, not because we were a disciplined, well-oiled crew oh no. It was because it was really hard work and I couldn’t really breath let alone talk.
As soon as it was in, the girls carried on stuffing it into its bag securing it with sail ties while the fore deck crew started to hoist the other two jibs.
They flew up and very soon we were heeled over once more beating into the breeze with ‘Mariska’ firmly in our sights.
As the minutes slipped past it was obvious that we were gaining on her, but the finish line was close now.
After 10 minutes we were close but not close enough. Mariska crept over the line to win the first race.
The aerial photograph of ‘Cambria’ above was taken during our first race. You can see Dave at the bow giving trimming instructions with Grace, Claire and me on deck……Fantastic.
I was disappointed that we didn’t win but I was elated that we had not only sailed but raced on this beautiful yacht. We had come 2nd in very unfavourable conditions for us.
As we were lowering the sails in preparation to go back to our berth the wind slowly died away to nothing leaving the boats still racing with no other option than to turn their engines on and head for the harbour.
Once we were back in, we washed the boat as before, stowing the sails and sheets but this time we had to repack the enormous spinnaker back into its sock ready for tomorrows race.
This is no mean feat, first we had to find the head of the sail. Dave clipped the spinnaker halyard to this before getting the top of the sock around the head of the sail, starting the zip before tying a safety line to make sure it didn’t burst open as we’re folding it.
With one person on the winch, four people pulling the sail out of the bag handing it to two people bringing the sides of the sail together Dave wrapped the sock around the sail as the ninth person pulled the zip down.
It was hard going as the sock was 50 meters long! Still we got it done, packing the sail back into it's bag before tying it to the deck ready for tomorrows race.
Dave said we were lucky that there was only one downwind leg in our race today. If there were two we would have had to do all this along the deck as we carried on racing!
We were soon all gathered by the forehatch with drinks in our hands talking about the racing and the night ahead….,Oh no…
Dinner was at 7 pm so after checking that all the chores had been done, Claire and I made our way back to the apartment via the hospitality tent of course for a shower and a lay down before tonight’s extracurricular activities.
Back on-board Cambria with a plate of very nice food in our hands we chatted with the rest of the crew about all and everything.
Once we were done the plan was to find a bar with some live music.
We all kind of split up. Grace Claire and I found a bar with good music being played outside in the street. We kept on seeing small groups of our crew drifting past with everyone stopping for a drink at one time or another.
Grace always seemed to be saying hello to other boats crew members as they strolled past and it was evident that she was well liked.
I am ashamed to say that by midnight I was flagging quite badly. I think it must be from the sun during the racing.
The bed back at the apartment felt wonderful but all too soon the alarm broke into my dreams of owning a beautiful classic wooden yacht.
Friday Sept 7th
Now, in case you didn’t know September 7th is Claire’s Birthday.
How fortunate that she has a wonderful husband who, along with the help of his eldest daughter arranged an almost priceless birthday treat on an historic racing yacht in Northern Italy!!
We walked hand in hand through the bustling town. We were greeted by our friend Lorenzo, the doorman on the hospitality tent.
After some welcome refreshment we made our way through the crowds to Cambria’s gang plank.
Once onboard Claire was welcomed by a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday Claire’ from the crew.
But we didn’t have time for any more celebration as Chris gave us an update from the race officers briefing.
He told us that the wind was forecast to be light once more. Many of the smaller yachts failed to finish yesterdays race due to a lack of wind in the afternoon so today's race is going to be shorter which is good news for them but bad news for us.
Once we were out of the harbour the sails went up very quickly.
We just set the main and staysail leaving the two jibs on deck as it looked like we would have to wait awhile for the wind to fill in.
We all just tried to stay out of the sun by sheltering in the shadow of the main sail.
After an hour or so the wind made an appearance albeit very light but this allowed the course to be set.
The race that followed was almost exactly the same as our first race. We got to the windward mark first but Mariska was quicker downwind and crossed the line ahead of us. Once again, I was amazed at how well Cambria went in such light conditions.
Back in the harbour we completed our chores quickly. But instead of beer and wine we had Espresso martinis expertly made by Ezzy as well as Prosecco in celebration of Claire’s birthday.
When we returned for dinner that evening, the crew all sang happy birthday to Claire before we enjoyed a very nice meal washed down with more Prosecco followed by Gelato that Grace had purchased from the best place in town. It was delicious.
We all went out to a bar on the opposite side of the harbour. Needless to say, we along with the rest of the crew had a very good night. I remember Scott insisting that he should buy everyone a Pina colada!! I think it's also safe to say that Claire had a very memorable Birthday.
The next few days just flew past. We competed in four races coming second every time to Mariska who, we were told employed a professional crew!
We enjoyed a very nice crew meal paid for by ‘Cambria’ on Saturday evening accompanied by a brilliant fireworks display provided by the town of Imperia.
On Sunday 9th the day of our final race the whole fleet of classic yachts had to motor out of the harbour in single file waving and cheering the Imperia yacht club who hosted the event and guess who was asked to lead the parade……..’Cambria’
Christoph and Will got themselves dressed up in inflatable sumo wrestler suits which looked very funny as they bumped into everyone and everything as they paraded around the deck.
Chris along with the rest of the regular crew was used to this. They also liked to liven things up a bit by firing a real cannon albeit a small one on such occasions!
The cannon was small but perfectly formed fitting neatly into the socket on the top of a winch.
The noise was provided by blank shotgun cartridges.
As we passed the small marquee where the yacht club dignitaries were gathered Chris whacked the firing pin at the back of the cannon with a hammer. The loud bang was very satisfying.
The last race was brilliant.
Mariska beat us again but it was a little windier and Cambria just flew. We had a really wonderful up wind leg with the water surging past coming over the gunnels onto the deck as we heeled, powering along overtaking everyone only to be retaken by Mariska on the downwind leg once again!!.
Even though we were second again It was a fantastic sail.
The mood onboard was very good as we motored back into the harbour for the last time. In fact you could feel the difference in the harbour as all the boats came back in ready for the prizegiving later on in the evening.
We cleaned the boat, re packed the spinnaker and had a few beers.
I wanted a picture of the whole crew as did a few of the others so we posed for a really nice photo with the camera balanced on the forehatch set on timer mode.
Chris told us that, because of the handicapping system he couldn’t be sure of our final position in the racing, he was hoping for a third or fourth place but wouldn’t know until it was announced at the prize giving so he asked us all to hang around the stage because if we were third we would all get to go up and receive the prize.
We went back to the apartment as usual returning to the boat for food which was, once again delicious. Thank you, Toby.
We all slowly made our way towards the crowds gathered around the stage. The atmosphere was very nice. Very happy with all the crews cheering those that won a prize.
They started with the smaller yachts, going through the classes until they got to ours the biggest yachts.
They called the fourth-place boat, which was ‘Moonbeam of Fife’ we all cheered, I thought we were going to be next but they called for ‘Hallowe’en’ another William Fife yacht that looked exactly like Cambria but smaller. She was beautiful.
We cheered loudly as the crew climbed the steps onto the stage.
Chris was looking puzzled as he was sure we would be either fourth or third.
The compare announced, ‘And in second place’ ‘CAMBRIA’!!!!!!
whooo hoooo. Second place, that was fantastic. We all made our way up on stage to the cheers of the rest of the crews and the crowds of onlookers.
Christoph still had his Sumo suit on. He received an even louder cheer as he walked onto the stage.
First Chris received an award for ‘Cambria’ for just attending the regatta.
Chris was then presented with the second-place trophy. The cheering was fantastic. We waved as we left the stage to take our place in the crowds to cheer the crew of ‘Mariska’ who took first place.
Chris proudly placed our prizes in the cockpit for all to see before we hit the town.
We had another great night. I was sad that this was going to be our last night with these people but more importantly the last night with Grace. I’m not sure when we will get to see her again.
We were down at the harbour the following morning at the usual time, but not to go racing unfortunately we were there to get everything back on-board Cambria and to say our goodbyes.
We carried the spinnaker pole back on board while the anchor and it's chain was brought up from the depths of the harbour.
Grace had the very messy job of flaking the chain in the locker as it was bought in.
She was covered in mud.
Once she was cleaned up I helped Grace bring the shore power cable on board.
All to soon they were ready to leave, we gave Gracie a few more hugs for good measure before we helped cast off the stern lines as Cambria made her way out of the harbour heading towards Cannes and another classic regatta in a few weeks time.
We were feeling sad for a lot of different reasons so we decided to go for a walk around the old town to take our minds off things. Fortunately, Claire had booked our apartment for an extra night so we enjoyed a quieter evening but the town was virtually empty.
All the exhibition and hospitality tents were being taken down, the stage was already gone as were most of the flags and banners.
It was time for us to go back home too.
We have thanked Chris via email and asked if we could return again next year. He said YES!!