Hi, I am Pam and I have recently became a full member of Malahide Yacht Club. My initial introduction to the club in 2018 was with the crew of Mon Reve and their skipper Brian Stewart. Having never been on a boat before I quickly adopted to all the sensory challenges such as balance, noise and motion that one associates with sailing. Taking this all in was a steep learning curve, which I initially asked myself could I do this, with time I did!
Over the course of 2018, I took part in races on the event calendar enjoyed learning the ropes as the weeks went on. This allowed me to build my personal confidence, understand the basics of sailing, learn key roles and most importantly getting to know the crew on Mon Reve – Brian, Maire and Rob. There was always one event as a team we keenly spoke about and actively worked towards, the prestigious 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta – the event was quickly upon us.
The Regatta was a four day event held from the 11th to the 14th of July and I had the opportunity to do two of the four days. As I walked down the marina in Dun Laoghaire on that sunny Saturday morning what initially stood out was the amount of boats moored, flags flying and ready to race. The sheer scale of the Regatta astounded me, 500 boats, 34 classes, 290 scheduled races and over 2,500 competitors taking part from not just Ireland but also UK and further afield as far as Hong Kong. Having only sailed for a short time this was a massive step up for me and the biggest event I’d ever dreamed of taking part in, I was excited, anxious and looking forward to the two days.
As we pulled out of the marina to commence our first race my heart was pounding, the amount of boats heading out was unbelievable and being so close you could easily gesture to the other competitors as we all worked our way to the starting line. It was a great feeling and the Mon Reve crew was ready to race and apply all our training.
Hearing the countdown on the radio my adrenaline kicked in and we were off. Sights and sounds that are familiar to us all which I am still adjusting to added to the excitement, the vivid fuchsia spinnaker popping, cruisers shouts of “starboard” getting too close, tacking and jibing around the marks in the race and the skipper helming the Mon Reve. I did not have time to think as I started to focus on the race working together with the crew. Around, other races where taking part with 360 degrees of boats, a rainbow of colours on sails and spinnakers, crews working together with a common goal, the sunshine glazing off the ripples in the sea and hearing the waves. Life is for living and it’s at times like this you appreciate sailing.
Over the course of the two days I was lucky to race 4 times, learning new skills as we went through each race and experiencing the challenges that our seas and the elements throw at us. Coming off the boat it was great to take off the gear, enjoy a refreshing drink, relish the smell of the BBQ, check we all made it back, meet other members, make new friends from other clubs, swap war stories, compare bruises, stiff necks and sore hands, have a laugh and experience the feeling your part of a one big family.
Thinking back, 12 months ago I would have never dreamt of taking part in a race of this magnitude. Whilst it is not the winning or losing but the taking part that it is important, let us not forget that the price of success is hard work, determination knowing one has done their best, being fit and healthy and that feeling of being alive breathing that fresh sea air in.
I am extremely grateful and thankful for being part of the Mon Reve crew and all members of the MYC who welcomed me in.
Pamela Walsh, 16th July 2019