Popping kites amid bronze winches


Sam Davies reports from on board the green hulled J class yacht
I was fortunate enough to be invited to sail on the J-Class yacht Shamrock V for this week of the America's Cup Jubilee regatta. I was in awe of this beautiful classic before I even stepped on board. Shamrock finished a major refit earlier this year, and it seems to have been extremely successful, both above and below deck. When John Spengos (the crew boss) informed me that my job for the week was the pit I was somewhat nervous, until I saw the four bronze finished Lewmar winches that I was to work at were all hydraulic! The last two days have been crew training, and today at 10.40 we started our first race of the regatta. In a fresh SW 20 knots, Shamrock was at the Island end of the long line (which was biased that way) on port tack, with Endeavour, Velsheda and Cambria below us. It must have been an impressive sight for the thousands of spectators on the green and in powerboats as we took off on our long beat to SW Shingles buoy. I could not believe that so many people had turned up to witness this spectacle on what was a rather miserable English rainy summer's day! It made me feel so proud to be racing on one of the world's most famous boats at a once-in-a-lifetime event. As we beat out of the Solent, Endeavour slowly ground us down and eventually got past in a wind shift. Shamrock is the smallest of the Js and so our work is cut out to get a good start and stay ahead. At the rounding mark the wind had increased to about 27 knots and all the crews were understandably cautious with their spinnaker hoists. Velsheda was the first to set her 'ladybird' spinnaker, and started catching us

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