‘Utterly painless’ 2018 Liverpool to Isle of Man Midnight Race

Leaving Conwy on the morning tide knowing that you’ve got to put a decent shift in to get to the start line in Liverpool then race through the night to the Isle of Man grab some rest then race from Douglas to a finish line somewhere in the Irish Sea then get back to Conwy can be a little daunting.  Nevertheless the crew including some first time racers were in good spirits.  Arriving in Liverpool just an hour and a half before the start and anchoring off the marina necessitated a bit of organising to get the tracker delivered and various forms sorted but come the starting gun we’re ready and the kite goes up.  The winds are light, the sun is out it’s all rather pleasant although the racing is fierce and no quarter is given as the fleet of over 20 yachts gybe their way down the river.  Despite a slight freshening of the breeze and a section of the channel that requires us to sail closer to the wind we hold the kite up while others around us are dropping theirs.  This gives us a bit of a lead over the two most similar boats on which we can judge ourselves.  As the sun drops below the horizon it’s still shirt sleeves and shorts, the temperature barely drops through the night.  The crew take turns in trimming the kite because the wind although light just about has enough in it to keep it filling.  The hours of darkness are magical, we can see the lights of other boats all around us as we all ghost silently toward Douglas.  Some fifteen and a half hours later we slot over the finish line, and down comes the kite, probably the longest uninterrupted spinnaker flying we’ve ever had.  Much to our jubilance the two Prima 38’s are behind us, we feel we’ve acquitted ourselves well.  Rafting up in Douglas Harbour gives us chance to share a bit of banter with fellow competitors, as the Irish boat Windjammer comes alongside we query “you enjoy that?” their reply “utterly painless… utterly feckin’ painless”, we’ll take that as a yes then.