Guest post by Scott Gray, Rigging Projects
NYYC 175th Anniversary Regatta, July 2019
It’s back to the day job at Rigging Projects after a great week at the onboard Gunboat 57 VaiVai at the NYYC 175th Anniversary Regatta. Nick’s back in front of his computer and I’m battling the heatwave in La Grande Motte, France for the launch of Gunboat 6802.
Historically we’re much more used to just showing up to do the regatta and service rigs – putting a crew together, entering the boat, finding accommodation etc. is usually in the realm of someone far more qualified so this was unchartered territory for us. We decided early on that competing in such a historic regatta was an opportunity we wanted to share. We invited some very special guests in co-skippers Adrian Keller and Fred Stelle. Adrian is usually found at the helm of Allegra, the Nigel Irens 84’ and Fred has a huge amount of experience racing in the waters around Newport. Fred’s advice on NYYC dress code and decorum was also invaluable to the less civilised members of the team. For tactics and map reading we brought in Allegra regulars Paul ‘sail rocket’ Larsen and his boss Helena Darvelid. Paul had to make the very tough call in sailing with us or racing to Hawaii in the Transpac… we’re very glad he made the right choice! In the middle of the boat we had Rigging Projects own ‘Scottish dream team’ of myself and our US rep Jason Carr – the thought process was at least we would be able to understand each other even if no one else would. The real magic onboard for the week happened on the bow. Nick Black, Kat Thompson, Chris ‘but I don’t do bow’ Bailet with special guest Freddie Mills formed the front-end super group that we needed in occasional moments of indecision and they got us round all the corners in great shape. Lastly, but certainly not least, we had VaiVai boat captain and Mr Fix-it Rowland Bennet. Rowland has been Gunboat-ing since the beginning of time and his boat preparation, endless humour and ability to pick up the mooring despite Chris’s laissez-faire attitude to tying on the tender made him a key part of the team.