Coming back down the La Grande Motte in November means several things, escaping the grey and the cold in Southampton for the eternal blue skies and the beautiful sandy beach, endless handshaking/triple cheek kissing and ‘bonjour monsoir-ing’ every morning with French coach Frank Citeau, all the French Figaro sailors and anyone else who happens to be within a 500 meter radius of the club and lastly the smell of horses in our stable residence. This year we have been treated to a very civilised warm up down here with light winds, flat water and only a few locals to race against. Perfect to iron out any boat transport gremlins get our bearings before things kick off in earnest with the full group after the Paris boat show.
For year two there have been a few changes to our setup within the Artemis academy. Rather than the group of nine sailors and 6 boats that started out last year we are a much leaner squad of four and three at the moment. The benefit of this is that we each get our own room although things are a bit quieter after sailing in the evenings. The other big change in our day to day routine is the lack of 40ft container to use as a workshop and general dumping ground. Instead we are using a long wheelbase Ford Transit van to store all our sails, spares and tools. At the moment this is just about going ok although I predict that within weeks or more likely days of team manager John Thorn’s departure this weekend the ordered racks will become scattered heaps of burning debris.