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Race 1 - Day 1

Team Garmin - Jon Dodd

01 SEP 2013 - Race 1

What a wonderful send off we had today. We would all like to thank our enthusiastic supporters, our waving hands and smile muscles are all thoroughly exhausted. For the other 34 of our team many thanks for your support and well wishes. Thanks also to the clipper team for organising and executing a great event - and what an iconic location.

The day started with us all boarding the boat at 8am, there were a few last hugs and kisses and hastily donned sunglasses to mask teary eyes, then a last few tweaks to what is now our home. The whole fleet was then blessed and then we were ushered to move on mass to the waiting area for the stage (high fives all around on route) then some nervous waiting (and more second chance last hugs and application of sunglasses) before on to the stage. Big cheers, a couple of interviews, lots of clapping, whoops, and chanting of 'Team Garmin' (Jim's rent a crowd doing us proud). Next on to the tight squeeze that is the lock (yes they fit four Clipper 70s in there - it's cosy) and then out into the Thames for the parade of sails, which culminated in 4 of the fleet going through Tower bridge before leading out the other eight boats past the Thames barrier and the last views of the spectator boats. We hope it's good training performing such vigorous waving for a few hours, and we enjoyed mixing in the formation mexican waves. Skipper Damian looked extremely happy back in his element (behind the wheel of the yacht without any meetings scheduled) we are looking forward to racing under his leadership.

We are currently moored along with the rest of the fleet in Queensborough Harbour eagerly anticipating the start of the race tomorrow (9:30 from Southend pier). We have already adopted our watch system and I am about to get a few hours before going back on anchor watch. I'm getting quite into this sailing lark...