Archive for Sport

Jack Kelly’s Sailing Dream

A friend of mine, Jack Kelly, whom I met at Leeds University while studying in the School of Computing, has taken it upon himself to join the crew of a tall ship, Windeward Bound, for a 6 month stretch. As a fellow sailor I was delighted to find that he has decided to write a blog about his experiences while on board and I’ve begun avidly following his updates. Jack, I wish you all the best for your travels on the high seas!

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Final Sail Of The Year

Today saw me return from my last sailing trip of the year before hanging up my oilies and hunkering down out of the cold for the winter. As luck would have it we couldn’t have had a better weekend for such a sail and despite the lower than preferred wind speeds we completed our overnight race to the French port of Cherbourg and returned to Gosport the following night in high spirits and with somewhat windswept and sun tanned faces!

I’ve included below a couple of choice photos I snapped when I got the chance. First up is the actual start of the race, dead centre of the picture you can just make out the starting box on the shoreline and of course the other boats in the fleet who have crossed the line or who are about to. The second is the sun drenched terrace bar in Cherbourg where the tired but satisfied race participants were conversing and enjoying a glass of Merlot (or three!)

Start Line

JOG Drinks Party

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Cross Channel Race

Over the Easter bank holiday I took part in a race across the English Channel and back with a team of people from the Offshore Cruising Club. The weather was rough and I was sea sick on the first day of the race, but the second day and the pre and post race sail went fantastically and all in all I had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

The high winds offered us the chance to frequently exceed 10 knots and the clear skies made for tanned faces and superb star gazing at night. What better way to chase away those chained to a desk computer blues!

Kieran helming Overlord

Posing on the deck

Helming with wind astern

Thanks to Anne Warren for taking the above photos, two of which show me at the helm of Overlord, the boat owned by the OCC.

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Quick Nine Holes

So after what I guess I could call a winter break from the sport of golf, I hit the 9 hole course at Broome Manor today to dust off my clubs and see how much my game has deteriorated over the Christmas period.

My tee shot on the first, while cleanly hit and with a nice length, gained a fairly serious fade and landed up in a thicket at the edge of the course. This initial failure being somewhat expected didn’t deter me and I took a second shot of similar length, landing in the middle of the fairway.

As I approached the green a pair of golfers, one of them clearly a newbie while the other somewhat more competent, were just finishing up on the green. I finished the hole in 5 and moved onto the second tee. The pair ahead of me had already started but moved to the side and waved at me to play through.

Normally this wouldn’t have phased me in the slightest but as I waved my acceptance and addressed the ball I gained a distinct sense of foreboding – what if a newbie were to witness the kind of tee shot I’d just pulled off on the first right before his eyes?

Thinking this was of course rather foolish as it merely served to put me off. As I hit the ball with a solid “Thwack” I realised that I’d tensed up and opened the face of the club far too much. While straight and true my ball did an almost entirely vertical dance into the air, disappearing against the pale blue winter sky briefly before landing no more than 25 yards in front of me.

A faint but distinctly audible chuckle drifted through the air toward me. Feeling a total fool I retrieved the errant ball, replaced it upon the tee and said a silent prayer to the God of golf to guide my next shot straight and true with a good length on it such that I could quickly rid myself of the somewhat embarrassing situation. Thankfully my prayers were answered and my ball landed a good 150 yards beyond where they were standing in the centre of the fairway. Smiling and waving my thanks I continued on my way, completing the hole in 6, which given my initial performance was none too bad.

The rest of my round was somewhat uneventful as being late in the day I met no further golfers and thus saved myself from a number of potentially embarrassing situations where my golfing skills clearly left a lot to be desired.

The round was far from a total loss however. I used the emptiness of the course to take several tee shots in places to help me get back in the groove and by the end of the round felt I was already approaching some semblance of my previous standard. My putting still leaves a lot to be desired but then there is a whole golfing season ahead in which to practice and I feel confident that better golf is surely just around the corner.

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Swindon Mountain Biking

Got an e-mail from someone who has started a mountain biking site for Swindon who is using my Calendar plugin. Could this be the push that finally makes me “get on my bike”? If I collect my bike from St. Albans this weekend it would give me little excuse to not have a go on some of the local trails!

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Twilight Golf

Traditionally James and myself play golf on boxing day but this year due to family commitments we postponed it until today. Due to it being after Christmas there was a lot of demand for tee times so we elected to play in the twilight tranche which essentially means you get a cheaper round but if you don’t play fast enough you don’t finish the course before it gets dark.

After the usual first couple of holes of mediocre warm up golf we settled into a good rhythm and began to hit some spectacular shots. I was noticeably improved since our last round, I think largely due to my recent few visits to Swindon driving range where I have been able to refine my swing and work on shot consistency.

On the back 9 we were dogged by slow players which caused us to come off the boil somewhat in shot consistency and ultimately not complete all 18 holes of the course. Still, we had a thoroughly enjoyable time and it has encouraged me not only to continue my practice sessions on the driving range but to augment them more often with a full round – I think I have the potential to improve my game significantly this way.

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End of the season

Over the weekend I made my way to the East Coast where our boat Burnaby is moored so that she could be “put to bed for the winter” so to speak. We washed down the decks to remove the damage birds had caused to it and then put on the large canvas covers which protect her from the winter frost. Hopefully we will be able to schedule many pleasurable sails for the new season when the covers must come off and we prepare her once more for sea.

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Last visit to Perula

A small album of pictures related to Grandad’s last visit to Perula, his boat, before she was taken out of service forever

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Ski Trip 2002

A collection of pictures taken on a skiing trip with friends to Lillehammer, Norway

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