Following our competition for one lucky winner to win an offshore sailing experience with Marlow Ropes and the Offshore Academy - the sailing took place on 24th July in Cowes and the weather offered up some top sailing conditions.  We caught up with our winner Harry following his day with Marlow & the Offshore Academy.

   1. What did you enjoy most about the experience? – what did it involve?

I had an amazing day and a great experience, one I will remember for a very long time. It is hard to place one experience from the whole day as the most enjoyable. The main stand out I think, was really the experience of being able to gain first hand knowledge of an iconic solo sailing class.  From the very start I was treated amazingly, after being met by Mark, taken down to the boat and meeting Hugh Brayshaw, who beyond being a very experienced sailor was a fantastic host. I was joined by Paul from Marlow. Paul was extremely knowledgable and gave me some interesting information on rope selection and the activities in the worlds racing fleets.

Hugh showed me over his Figaro 2 in great detail, we talked through navigation, sail and route selection, sleep management and he provided me a fascinating insight into the world of professional racing. Afterward we went out into some perfect sailing conditions where Hugh put me through my paces. First demonstrating and talking through manoeuvres then allowing me to go through them myself. Both Hugh and Paul where very encouraging about my sailing but I mainly just tried my hardest not to embarrass myself onboard.

   2. What were the key things that you learnt from the experience?

My biggest take away from the day, was learning about the need to pre plan on a boat when sailing alone. The amount of practice and time that needs to go into performing the manoeuvres flawlessly and quickly can only come from time on the water and it has greatly inspired me to train harder in my own sailing.

   3. What sailing experience did you have prior to the day?

My sailing experience has been quite extensive to date. I have been a yachtmaster for many years and have completed multiple ocean crossings under sail through various deliveries and racing. I have just gained my Chief Mates Unlimited certificate and have been navigating for the British Antarctic Survey in Ice and the Southern ocean for the last few years or so. I have also recently purchased a Mini Transat so that I may increase my exposure to solo sailing as it is a discipline I have been interested in for a long time. 

I have been very lucky in my time and managed to visit every continent and cross every ocean on all sorts of vessels and have amassed hundreds of thousands of miles in total on ships and yachts. With all of that being said I can honestly say that yesterdays sailing was up there with one of the most enjoyable and informative days I have ever spent on the water. The skills and knowledge I have gained I hope I will be able to transfer into my own sailing.

 I wish to say a huge thank you to Marlow Ropes, The Offshore Academy, Hugh Brayshaw and all the teams and people involved in the day. The professionalism and extent to which they all conduct themselves is a testament to the successful future of British sailing.