Things start getting serious in La Grande Motte when the scholarship selection series gets mentioned. Suddenly the exact timing of the start of the long races in relation to trips home becomes a contentious issue and early morning trips to the dock to surreptitiously swim boats before anyone else is around become common place. This serious approach on the part of the Artemis sailors is paying dividends on the water as partly due to improvements from the training and partly due to the extra incentive on our parts we have made a much better showing in relation to the French .
The most recent costal qualification race started late in the afternoon and saw the fleet of ten boats close reaching out to an offshore buoy in a dying breeze and with a dramatic sunset. The wind angle was smack bang in-between needing a genoa and the big spinnaker. This split the fleet quite widely with some boats taking the high road with genoas and other opting to hold big sails taking a longer but faster course whilst I went somewhere in the middle undecided between sails and making a lot of changes. By the end of the leg the higher option had paid off and I rounded second behind Frenchman Chris Pratt with the rest of the fleet a decent way behind in the dark. This gave me plenty of time to work on dodgy nav lights and then get some sleep. I made the judgment that Mr Autopilot is probably a more competent helm than a sleepy human upwind in the dark and got my head down for a few good twenty minute blocks. Daylight came to show me still in second for an exciting if not relaxing 20 mile tight reach with Phil Sharp pushing hard within about ten boat lengths of my transom into the finish.
Much better result in the second qualifying race, the scholarship place dream is still alive.