Saturday's Sailing was slightly different as we were doing a sponsored sail in aid of Red Nose Day 2011.

It involved dressing up – preferably in something red – and sailing in it for charity.

I decided to go dressed as a garden gnome for this years event which was held at SailLaser. As ever, the difficulty is deciding on a costume to wear that is compatible with sailing.

The garden gnome idea came to me when sorting out my kit for this year. I have an old sailing jacket that is red and, as red was the order of the day, this had to be the basis of my costume.

I ‘borrowed’ dad’s green shorts and along with a few other bits including my sailing wellies, made the perfect outfit for the day.

This year's event was based around teaching a friend to sail, which initially took some thinking about as a lot of my fiends already sail through SailLaser or the Academy.

However, one friend at Royal Manor Arts College who had never been sailing before is Jake Rowland.

He is about to embark on a sailing adventure of a very different kind as he will soon be going on a tall ship voyage which is organised through the school.

Sailing a dinghy is very different to sailing a tall ship but it’s was all in a good cause so we headed down to the academy bright and early on Saturday morning.

Before the fun began, I had to do my usual duties of setting up the picos and, as we were going out in a Laser 2000, this had to be prepared too.

Then we all got changed. Firstly we had to get our wetsuits on and then, for those who wore fancy dress, this had to be put on too.

And finally, on top of all of this, you have to put your buoyancy aid. It was lots of layers, and we certainly weren’t going to get cold!

There were various costumes, a garden gnome, a reindeer and a fairy to name a few. Others wore red noses and red t-shirts and everyone was in high spirits.

As we took out one the larger boats, we had five of us in a double hander. This gave us an obvious weight disadvantage, and coupled with the distinct lack of wind meant that we weren’t really the ideal racing team but as we headed round the course, trying to avoid all the sabotage that was going on, we came a respectable 4th place.

The final figures for our fundraising aren’t in yet but as a nation, at the last count, a phenomenal £74 million was raised and shows incredible support for the charity.

It’s been an eventful week – 500 days to go before the Olympics, the Olympic presentation, I went along to Portland Heights but there were also events in Dorchester and Weymouth and of course, the Red Nose Event.

Next week is the last Saturday, as the clocks go forward and the evenings get lighter, I will be volunteering on a Tuesday evening at OnBoard Club and sailing at Race Club on a Wednesday evening.

This will leave my weekends free for volunteering at the Sailing Academy during some of their forthcoming events.

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