Palma’s Top Places for Tapas y Pintxos

Although we all know the word ‘tapas’ comes from the Spanish tapar, (‘to cover’), there are quite a few theories floating around on what the source of this meaning actually is. The most shared is that a piece of bread was often placed on top of a drink to protect it from fruit flies and at some stage it became custom to top this ‘cover’ with some ‘queso’ or ‘jamón’. We however also quite like the least known possibility where Felipe III passed a law which declared that when buying a drink, the bartender was to put a small snack over the mouth of the goblet. This to try and restrict rowdy drunken behaviour, particularly among soldiers and sailors! The idea being that the food would slow the effects of the alcohol. Ha! I’m not sure about soldiers but I know most sailors would need a lot more than a few ‘croquetas’ to stop them from being three sheets to the wind and having trouble staggering back to their ship..

La Bóveda's Bellota

La Bóveda’s Bellota

In any case Palma counts more tapas restaurants than you can shake a shrimp skewer at but just like you we only like to nibble on the best of boquerones and tuck into the tastiest tortillas thank you very much. And although we’ve been going around trying and testing the traditional tapas; so many calamares, patatas bravas and pimientos de padron! We’ve also done some serious snacking on tapas of the more contemporary kind and have thus come up with this list of solid places that serve up the most scrumptious of mini meals and finger foods for you to gorge on.

La Bóveda We’re certain you’ve eaten at this la Lonja classic where you’ll never spot an empty table, noise levels are suitably high, waiters occasionally grumpy but the quality of the Jamón Bellota always so incredibly good you want to slowly slide that plate over to your end of the table, create a barrier with your right arm and refuse to share any of it with your fellow eaters. We’re also quite partial to their pata negra and the house plonk, a crianza, is pretty good too.

Quina Creu in Palma's Old Town

Quina Creu in Palma’s Old Town

Quina Creu This hip hideaway features the cities coolest retro interior made up from weird murals, funky flea market finds and old style island treasure. It has two entrances; one for the restaurant and one for the pintxos bar where if the sweet sounds of bossa nova won’t lure you in, the sight of their selection of pintxos will. Their small skewered snacks are cheap (1,50€ each) and tiny which affords you to totally indulge. Chefs here come up with crazy, creative concoctions like the goats cheese, nuts, sugar and cinnamon one of which we inhaled four even before ordering our first verdejo.

L’Ambigú Bar Hidden in the dark windy streets of the old town you’ll find this cosy terrace lit by fairy lights and kept toasty during those two months Palma pretends to get cold with outdoor heaters and fluffy blankets. Unpretentious and always packed this place boasts an impressive display of imaginative pintxos like the tiny towers of smoked salmon/ grilled aubergine/ avocado or artichoke/ boquerones/ cherry tomatoes/ balsamic glaze which keep getting refreshed and kept us coming back for more.. Don’t forget to order a slice of the tortilla, it has some secret ingredients inside making it exceptionally delish..

Antiquari Cafe

Antiquari Cafe

L’Antiquari L’Antiquari used to be an antiques shop a few years back which is still evident in the quirky antiques everywhere so don’t be surprised to share your table with a singer sewing machine or to have to rest your drink on a black and white style telly. There are the ‘cafe con leche’ crowds during the day but come early eve it starts to buzz with locals and foreigners filing in to slurp on draft Guiness, friendly-priced cocktails and tuck into their pa amb oli’s, croques and salad’s.

Appetising, affordable, filling and all prepared fresh from their itty bitty open kitchen.

Gaudeix This place is tucked into a tiny square on Carrer de Can Sales and made us feel like we made a local discovery only seconds after we first sat down. There are tables outside on this pretty little plaza and as the street’s pedestrianised the terrace’s got a cosy backyard sort of feel to it. They serve tapas and pintxos but both are cooked to order so you’ll never need to wonder how long these tiny treats have been on display. The broad bean stew and oxtail are absolutely delicious and they serve a black pudding with a hazelnut inside so fantastically flavourful you’ll want to talk about it for the next two days..

Santa Catalina's Patxi

Santa Catalina’s Patxi

Patxi looks very closed for most of the day but after 8pm opens its shutters to attract a lively mix of locals and visitors keen to swill rioja and devour some traditional but very tasty tapas. There’s a restaurant at the back but it’s at the front in the bar where the noise, the action and fantastic platters of pintxo’s are at. When you walk in it looks like any other tapas place in town but don’t let these modest surroundings fool you as at Patxi’s it’s all about the food. Watch Patxi himself cook his socks off in the kitchen or wolf down the melt-in-your-mouth meats to know what we’re on about.

¡Buen provecho!

Patxi didn't fit but can be found in Sta Catalina

Patxi can be found in Sta Catalina at the end of San Magí on your right on Carrer Espartero No 28

Ten questions for one of Spain’s top sailing photographers: Jesús Renedo

If you’re not interested in the world of sailing, don’t follow the big regatta’s, the best teams and would call the bow the pointy end of a boat you might not have heard of world renowned sailing photographer Jesús Renedo. Anyone else however is sure to have seen his work a myriad of times adorn the front pages of high profile yachting magazines like Classic Boat, Vela and Yachting World. He travels the world taking photo’s of the best teams and the fastest boats on the regatta circuit and is well known for his striking and powerful action shots. Jesús was raised on the water in Santander but made the move to Mallorca many years ago which is where we caught him just after he got back from NY to hit him with the next ten questions..

©2014 Pedro Martínez/Sailing Energy

©2014 Pedro Martínez/Sailing Energy

1) Are you a keen sailor yourself?

Yes, I’ve been sailing ever since I was a kid, I learnt to sail on Optimists, Vauriens, and 470’s in the Bay of Biscay on the North Coast of Spain. Also my parents had a 25 ft sailing boat on which we used to spend all our family holidays so I’ve been messing around on boats for as long as I can remember.

2) Have you crewed on boats as well?

Yes, I have. I was 29 when I quit my office job to join a sailboat about to embark on a round the world race. Since then I never looked back: I got my skipper’s license and worked in the superyacht industry for quite a few years, first as a deckhand later as mate and captain running all sorts of yachts and taking part in many regattas.

3) So, have you always taken photo’s while at sea?

Yes, I always had a camera in my hands. I also used to work as a scuba diving instructor and so took (and still take) many shots underwater as well.

4) When did you start taking photo’s professionally?

I think it was back in 2006.

5) How did you learn your photography skills? I’m self taught. Lots of studying and plenty of practice.

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

6) How would you describe your style?

Action!! I love working during regattas and concentrating on those ‘action shots’!

7) How many regatta’s and other sailing events do you travel to per year? And which is your favourite?

I travel a lot, which is a pain!  Carrying all that heavy photography gear is becoming a big problem at airports.
It’s difficult to choose one event, I enjoy them all! But I can say I really love the olympic sailing and the big, mighty J Class racing!

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

8) What do you look for when you’re on a shoot?

I like to capture the essence of what is going on by taking close ups of sailors and show exactly what they’re doing, their efforts and concentration. I also like to use the landscape, the sea and the whole environment we’re in at that moment.

9) Do you know immediately if you’ve taken a spectacular photo?

Yes! Most of the time when I download the images, I can’t wait to see if one particular shot is focussed and sharp. It’s fantastic when you get the feeling you’ve just taken that extra special shot! Then you keep your fingers crossed for it to be razor sharp!

Copyright Jesús Renedo

Copyright Jesús Renedo

10) Any advice for us sailors who like to take pictures of our own?

Enjoy!! And take care not to drop your camera in the splash!! Trust me I’ve done that a few times! 😉

Thank you Jesús!

No problem!

If you want to see more of Jesús Renedo’s high-impact photo’s check out the galleries on his website here.

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

No Nightmare Before Christmas

It’s that time of year again when you’ve got those good intentions of being ultra efficient and super organised but still end up finding yourself a few days before Christmas fighting crowds and frantically traipsing the ‘tienda’s’.. The good news? That’s not going to be you this December, as you’ll be snuggled up on the sofa sipping gluhwein smiling smugly thinking about those poor souls still working their way through their lists. There’s a neat pile of perfectly packaged prezzies under your colour coordinated, non-needle dropping tree which will be sure to get a lot of ‘ooh’, ‘ahh’s’, ‘how did you knows’ and will make those sock, scarf and voucher givers hang their heads in pure shame. How?

Well, we know some real gems which will allow you to do your shopping in one swift swoop and especially good is that they’re all independently owned so aside from sure places to score they’re also a shout out to the little guy. Hurray!

Del món, Tienda de cervezas

Del Món, Tienda de cervezas, Santa Catalina

On Placa Navegacio 14 opposite the Santa Catalina market is a little drinking den called Del Món. Owner Lorenzo Fiol spent 24 years working for a big aviation company before he traded his desk for dry ale and made it his mission to add craft beer to Mallorca’s beer scene. Good man. Boutique-y del Mon boasts two walls stacked from high to low with anything from brown ale to Bock and from Porter to Pale Ale ‘cos if it’s made in small batches and by traditional methods Lorenzo’s your go-to guy. And whether these bottled beauties come from Germany, Scotland, The States or The Netherlands this beer buff’ll be able to tell you everything about them including which ones go perfectly with chocolate. Lorenzo’s tried and tested almost every brew in the shop and now stocks seasonal beers, Christmas ale’s and winter ale’s as well which can all be arranged in traditional Mallorquin baskets. Cool or what?

Weird, wacky, wonderful Cronopios on Calle Pou 33 is recognisable by its purple walls, crazy papier-mâché cats and the colourful items of clothing on display. It’s run by Argentinian Marcello and his sister Mara and most stuff in the shop has been made by one of the two siblings or their mum! I’ve seen her once on the back of Marcello’s motorbike- she is one funky lady! So what do they sell? Unique pieces of clothing but also dangling clowns, upside down chickens, orange boots, silver stockings and skinny geisha’s..

Inside the Santa Catalina market you’ll find Enoteca Sa Roteta which sells local wines, imports – (particularly French and Italian wine from small producers with and without a DO), as well as gins, cava’s, champagne, chocolate, sobrasada and the local Es Trenc salt. It was founded by Biel Ferra but you’ll mostly be talking to English Holly who definitely knows her Beaujolais from her Blanc de Blanc but is also the first to tell you high end wines can also do low end prices.

Bruno Daureo for Tribeca

Bruno Daureo for Tribeca Concept Store

With booze clonking in our bags we set off to Tribeca on Calle Sant Feliu where Italian Ludovica and her chihuahua Zoe hold reign. Laid-back Ludovica doesn’t pounce but let’s you peruse in peace unless you want to chat that is.. The shop’s made out of three small spaces and has bags of personality as it contains the sort of stuff that makes you smile: treasures you would find on travels and items that have a story to tell. For example she sells dog leashes spliced by an ex captain, bracelets made by girls in Barcelona and light bulbs ingeniously set in painted blocks of drift wood by Mallorquin artist Bruno Daureo. Whether it’s for the home, for around the wrist or something to write in you’ll be able to find an original gift from as little as 8€. And whatever you end up leaving with she’ll make sure it’s exquisitely ribboned and wrapped. I sometimes pass by just to shoot the breeze although Ill admit on more than one occasion I’ve found myself returning home with a vintage suitcase or art deco mirror instead of a pint of milk which is what I originally set out for…

On the same street is Jorge Sosa Balle’s ‘Estilio San Feliu‘ which is the perfect place to find handmade modern Mallorquin things. He sells cushion covers, placemats and bags made from the rather retro Llengos fabric as well as olive wood pieces and pottery painted in every colour you can possibly imagine. I once bought a bright blue bowl to send home which he wrapped so well even DHL couldn’t do any damage..

Glassworks GiorgiaRei

Glassworks GiorgiaRei, C/ Sant Gaieta, Palma

Just a little further and on your left on Calle Sant Gaieta 4 you’ll find an Aladdin’s cave of different coloured shimmer and shine. This spacious shop’s owned by Georgia, a very talented Italian glass artist who mastered lampworking, a melting technique using a lamp or torch, in Venice no less. All studs, dangly earrings, bracelets, necklaces and sculptures are hand made in her Palma workshop from Murano glass and most are made of beads which have been drawn on by hand! And whether you’re looking for stocking fillers or to spend a bit more on something super special Giorgia will have just the thing as prices range between 15€ for a ring to 100-450 for the larger, more intricate pieces. Like Ludovica she’ll leave you to look as you please and try and test if you like while always being happy to help and advise. She’s great for guys who wouldn’t know their choker from their cameo as Giorgia once helped me pick the perfect present for a friend through a photo I brought. For girls the only downside is that’s it’s too easy to leave with something for yourself as well. Oh well.

If you’ve not ticked off all the names on your list I’m pretty sure you’re very close. In any case Bar Ombu on Placa de la Reina is just 2 min away so you can drop your bags, rest your tootsies, order a fish bowl sized G&T and finally start to give in to that fuzzy, festive feeling 😉

A Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Tetley’s Tea from the English Aisle..

Whether you live in Barcelona, Binissalem, Palma or Puerto Banús and whether you’re a Brit a Kiwi or a Clog chances are if you’re reading this you’re what the Spanish call a ‘quiri’. As I’m sure you already know this is not a derogatory term it just means you came here for the sparkly blue bay and the sunshine. Like I did, almost two years ago.. Now, there are quite a few things I’ve caught myself doing since I made the move and I’ll admit maybe they’re just me, but I do have a sneaking suspicion I’m not alone on some of these quirks.. So have a look at the following list as maybe you’ll recognise a thing or three and if not you’re very welcome to frown -God knows I’ve become used to baffling people on a daily basis by mixing words, muddling tenses or making stuff up by sticking an O at the end..

IMG_0190Although I’ll be using the royal ‘we’ we all know who I’m talking about here. Me.

1) When prowling around Carrefour Planet you have a trolley full of Seville Oranges, sobrassada sausage and enough local wine to sink a ship (Two for one!!) but when you all of a sudden ‘happen’ to find yourself in the English aisle you can’t help but squeal: ‘Minstrels’!! And feel the need to stock up.. just in case.. (what?) You never ate them at ‘home’ and now you have 16 family packs. Why?

2) You can’t help but feel smug while complaining about the heat, a smirk plays around on your face while you try and compete in a ‘my house is hotter than yours in summer competition’. It’s not just that you’ve escaped from the dark and drizzle to a place which boasts 300 sunny days a year – it’s even accepted to complain about it. Double whammy or what?! You’ve made your beach and are oh so happy to lie on it and bitch about it 😉 On the other side when you speak to friends that still live ‘over there’ you try desperately to play it down. “Yeah it’s ok. We had a day that was part cloudy a few weeks ago so you know the weather’s not perfect all the time”

3) You’re first in there with the eye rolling and tongue clicking when it comes to those red faced tourists. There are too many of them, they stop in the middle of the street to look at a map, they’re too loud, they order beer in English/ German/ Gibberish and wear pastel coloured shorts. We sigh ‘cos we’re so not like them and never have been, we’re special.

IMG_00214) Just like some like to lie about their age or the price of their shoes we lie about the amount of time we’ve lived here. Well I do, I halve it. And then I gleam with delight when told my Spanish is pretty good for someone that moved here only a few months ago. “Muchas gracias” I then humbly mumble sometimes even complemented with a “Estudio mucho, si”. Oooh, yes! Shame on me!

5) Which brings me to my next one: the big, manic smiles on entering a shop / bank / hairdresser when you have a question or query which you know you’re going to struggle to explain. Subconsciously you’re thinking the banana-sized, bare toothed grin and over animated ‘HOLLLAAAAA! ¿Qué tal?’ is going to make up for the fact that there’s bound to be a lot of “Lo siento no comprendo’s”, more than a few “Más lento’s” with some helpless hand gestures thrown in the mix as well. ‘At home’ I rarely used to walk into a shop smiling like a moron, here it’s part of my cunning plan of masking my Spanglish with a cheeriness bordering on the crazy side. ‘She’s loopy but happy, let’s help her and get her the hell out of the shop’.

6) You just love showing off to visiting friends. You take them to those bars where you can only hear a local dialect and choose from dishes no-one’s ever heard of before even though you’re usually to be found in ‘Hogan’s Burger Bar’. You’ll miss no chances of really rolling out those only few sentences that have had plenty of practice like: “Una-copa-de-vino-blanco-por-favor”. You say it with such speed even the waiter struggles to catch it. You throw in words like’”Venga” and “Vale” while keeping a straight face and your friends almost fall of their chair in astonishment as they were right there with you fifteen years ago when you couldn’t get a c for foreign languages even if your life had depended on it. But look at you now! In Spain speaking Spanish, and hanging out with your ‘amigos’! Such a showoff.

IMG_12687) You get all labrador-like when you meet someone from the same region as you even though hearing that accent when back home makes you break out in a sweat.. Without hesitation the tail-wagging is reciprocated and you both feel compelled to talk about the school you went to / the bakery you used to get your bread/ the postbox you used etc after which you launch into a full five minute session of ‘You knows’ : You know Barry? No? You don’t know Barry? He’s from Hastings/ Hilversum/ Hamburg. Sara then? You know Sara? Oh you must know Sara! And so on..

My Spanish teacher says that ‘we’ all know each other I thinks she imagines us all meeting up to drink the wrong coffee at the wrong time to talk about the weather and where to buy Tetley’s. Do we?? I then asked my Spanish friends whether there were things they thought only us expats do. What followed was a lot of elbowing, glance exchanging and sniggering. Which ones in particular was their answer? The Scandinavian ones, Los Ingleses? Los Alemanes? Apparently we all have different quirks depending on which testing climate we left behind. Oh, ok let’s say the English then. More glancing. Then silence!? So maybe we’ll keep that for another blog. Or you know what? Maybe we’ll just leave that one altogether 😉 …

Top three places for posh drinking in Palma

For those in Palma quite partial to one or two cócteles, the kind that come with all sorts of stuff floating around on top and preferably served in a glass big enough to drown a small whale, we’ve done you a favour. A big, bubbly, boozy one. You see we’ve gone out and done all the swilling, sipping and slurping for you. From a ‘Florita Mediterraneo’ to a couple of ‘Violet Hours’: We’ve downed them all and have so (after a serious hangover) come up with this little list of the top three places in Palma to get a more than decent drink!

You’re very welcome. -hic-

1) We start of at Brass Club on Passeig de Mallorca. This corner cocktail club is all class. The well mannered bartenders wear perfectly pressed whites and do their cocktail thang swiftly with stealth and style. They serve classic cocktails, their own concoctions and seasonal specials. We slurped down a Mango Gin Fizz and a Florita Mediterraneo (Aperol, white vermouth, rosemary and Mediterranean essence) which were both bang on. Well, to be expected really as owner Raffa has won more cocktail making prizes than you can shake a swizzle stick at!

BrassClub

BrassClub

They play a Jazzy soundtrack and it has a 1950’s Bond-like vibe. It’s usually busy with a mixed but grown up crowd and as it’s two minutes outside ‘tourist central’ Espagnol is the only language you’ll hear which is quite nice really as some spots in the city are as British as builders tea and butter biscuits!

2) Bypass ‘the-plastic-menu-waving-guys’ outside the sangria serving tourist traps to get to cool, classy Ombu. Ombu is on Placa de la Reina, that’s right, just opposite that ancient olive tree called (you guessed it) Ombu. Nope, you won’t be surrounded by locals and will be hearing mostly English and German but the perfectly executed cocktails more than make up for this. Go for something from the ‘Blow your mind’ section of which especially the ‘Violet Hour’ (Tanqueray, violet syrup, lemon juice & Marraschino) and the ‘Nakens’ made us walk a very fine line between ‘a couple of drinks then home’ and a long, late and possibly messy one..

OMBU

OMBU

Ombu’s couldn’t be more central hence the relentless stream of red faced tourists which are kinda fun to watch, especially when holding a cold cocktail with a flower floating on top 😉 Aside from killer cocktails there’s a whole team of chefs in the kitchen cooking and prepping high end tapas of the more contemporary kind. If you’re planning on having food or are wanting a romantic setting the table on the balcony upstairs is not only totally private there’s the added bonus of an awesome view!

3) If you turn right on the top of the Borne you’ll get to bar Weyler and although this place stocks a staggering 25 different types of gin it’s bartender Luis’ concoctions you need to get your paws on. His list of specials is a result of 13 years of testing and tasting and the ‘Smoke Baby’ (Laphroig, grapefruit syrup, coriander, lemon juice and bitters) in particularly made us wonder where it had been our whole life.

Cocktails are made with care and exacting precision by the absurdly capable bartender girls who confirm our suspicion that suspenders and bow ties go hand-in-hand with fabulous drinks! The cocktails, a chilled soundtrack and the fact they stay open till late gives you every excuse to slowly work your way through that list of specials and clean forget you’d previously made plans for dinner.. 😉

 

We’d love to hear if you’ve been to any of the above bars, what your fav spots are, what you had or indeed how you felt the next day…

Weyler

Weyler

Cheers!

Bar Weyler, Plaza Weyler 1, 07001 Palma, No: 679 033 120
OMBU, Plaza de la Reina, 07012 Palma, No: 971 214 387
BrassClub, Passeig Mallorca 34, 07012 Palma, No: 871 715 677

Only me all at Sea

With the VOR having kicked off leg one recently I’ve been thinking about the different kind of sailors I know. ..Rock star racing sailors, coastal cruisers, casual sailors, day sailors, dinghy sailors, dead serious sailors, drunken sailors, solo sailors, multihull and maverick sailors.

And then there’s me, the world’s worst sailor who for some strange reason has happened to spend many years on all sorts of sail boats. From classics to carbon fibre racing machines I’ve confounded many crew by making all kinds of boating blunder’s and sailing snafu’s. Only last week I tried to silence a B&G alarm by setting off the fire alarm, the week before I managed to get myself and a fender stuck between the spokes of the helm while trying to get the thing from starboard to port. “Fabulous fending Dani!” I’m happy enough chewing the fat on the rail, slurping gatorade and eating mini mars bars but don’t ask me to tie a bowline or fetch a boat hook from the fore peak ‘cos you’ll get both the blank look and the big eyes. (He wants what?) I don’t like hearing raised voices either. It frightens me and I think we’re about to sink.

All of you that have ever spent even one second on a yacht with me I can see you nod and I can hear you snigger. Seriously, all the way from Australia, so stop.

In any case it comes as no surprise that the world of ocean racing and solo sailors completely eludes though totally fascinates me. Like a homebody who gets Michael Palin to bring the world to their living room I regularly get 50 knot Southern Ocean swells right here on my Santa Catalina sofa by re reading Naomi James’ ‘Alone around the world’ and Moitessier’s ‘The long way’ and all while snuggled up in a thick fleece with frequent breaks not to have to adjust sails but to pad back and forth from the couch to the kettle in slippered feet.

Anyhow with this blog I’d like to give a shout out to my four favourite sailors and take my proverbial south western hat off to them by listing some of the super human and incredibly daunting things they’ve done while I was watching dvd’s and eating chocolate biscuits.

Laura Dekker

Laura Dekker

1) Let’s start with Dutch Laura Dekker who at an age where my main concerns were how to get out of P.E. and why my hair wasn’t straight started her 27,000 nautical mile voyage around the world. She was 16 when she finished her 518 day trip which made her the youngest person to have ever sailed solo around the globe. Laura Dekker was born aboard a yacht off the coast of New Zealand and first sailed solo at six years old, (six!) and at ten began dreaming about crossing the planet.. I love that during her trip she found a new hobby: playing the flute, which she said was easier to play than a guitar in bad weather!

2) Another female pioneer is seasickness suffer-ess Naomi James who was the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by herself. She completed her voyage on the 8th of June 1978 after having spent 272 days at sea. During the cruise, 16m ‘Express Crusader’, endured a few minor distresses like losing her mast, capsizing and having no radio for a couple of weeks, so small stuff really 😉 Actually Naomi James was not the sole soul aboard – she had a cat named Boris, which unfortunately fell over board off the coast of Africa.

Moitessier Voyage

Moitessier Voyage

3) One of my favourite Frenchies is long-distance sailor Bernard Moitessier who christened his 12m ketch Joshua in honour of Slocum. It was on this boat that Moitessier competed in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race (predecessor of the Vendee Globe), making fantastic time, only to abandon the race near the end, blowing off the chance to win the first non-stop singlehanded round-the-world race. What? Yup, he kept on sailing halfway around the world again to Tahiti to “save his soul.” Without breaks and mostly in the roaring forties this voyage resulted in Moitessier setting the record for the longest nonstop passage, sailing a total of 37,455 nautical miles in 10 months.

Jean le Cam

Jean le Cam

4) Then there’s the colourful Jean Le Cam, he broke an Atlantic record in 1982, won the Transat in 1994, the 1,000 miles of Calais and is three times winner of the Figaro, so boasts a pretty serious sailing CV. He brought big smiles to everyone’s faces during the 2013 Vendee when we saw his dark curls go wilder everyday and met his set of soft animals who did the journey with him. We watched on webcam how they regularly fell over and how Le Cam would put them back in place while talking us through his days at the office. His gang of furry fluffies all made it up to the stage with him as well on arrival in Sables-d’Olonne. Gold.

Of course these amazing people and what they’ve done has helped shape what sailing and racing is today and although they couldn’t be more different to whom I am and what I can do I’d just like to finish of with mentioning that if you need someone to coil a line the wrong way around the winch, to speak on VHF without pushing the button or to repeatedly throw an increasingly heavy line not on the dock but in the water, look no further, I’m your woman. And while I tuck into a slice of hot pizza and crack open a smooth Rioja, the VOR guys and girls are gearing up for short sleeps, freeze dried food and wet and windy weather. I might take this vino out to the terrace but if it gets too nippy I’ll just slip back into my house, the one that never moves, moans, heels, slides or shudders.. Thank god.

Good luck all you VOR people, I admire you, you’re amazing!