Round the World Race – learn how to pack spinnakers in you own home

Mark Tucker, has dropped back to 7th (oh dear) in the closely-fought Clipper Round the World Race somewhere off the coast of Brazil, with 1400 nautical miles to go to the finish of leg l.

He  has written another entry in the crew blog of GREAT Britain:

Day 25 – Build your own woolling simulator! (Wooling is what you do to spinnakers the minute they come down below, so you can get them up again as quickly as possible without snagging or wrapping – Geddit? -Ed)

Here on board GREAT Britain we know you love to follow us online and in spirit, but now we’ve teamed up with our friends at the General Woollers Union to come up with this helpful guide to building a woolling simulator to give you a taste of ocean racing at home!

You will need:

  • Several large pieces of fabric. About the size of a tennis court should suffice. Have your favourite haberdasher trim each into a rough triangle. These will be your kites.
  • A small caravan.
  • Friends or family.
  • A child’s paddling pool. Fill with water.
  • Wool. Colour and fleck to your preference but a brighter shade will bring joy to your day.
  • A rugby team (optional).
  • A fiery furnace or 100 stage lights (optional).
  • Blackout curtains and dim red lights (optional).
  • Patience.
  • A good sense of humour.
  • Plenty of tea.

Basic simulation

Install at least one of your friends in each of the caravan bunks and allow them to slumber; it is your mission for them to remain asleep until you’ve finished. Get into the caravan and shut the door. Have your remaining friends take one of the kites and dip it into the paddling pool. Once thoroughly wet, ask them to bundle, twist and generally contort it before feeding it to you through the caravan skylight. Now your fun begins!

The first step is to make sure it’s flat by removing the twists. Start at one of the triangle corners (we suggest taking it up to the end of the caravan with the vase of plastic flowers and copy of Puzzler), work your way down the edges until your as sure as you can be it’s flat.

Top GWU Tip: You’ll never be completely sure! Once you’re happy, bring forth the wool for now the actual woolling can begin! Starting at each of the corners, roll the edges in on each other and tie with a short length of wool. Aim to use as much or as little wool as possible depending on your mood; as a rough guide every inch is too often, every meter too little.

Work in from each of the corners to form a three pointed star of which Mercedes would be proud – get it wrong and nappy rash will be your downfall! Once complete, take your star and carefully pack into one of those blue bags from your favourite Swedish home store that everyone has in their cupboard. Stuff into the wardrobe. Drink tea.

Advanced Simulation 1 – Multiple Kites

As above, but ask your friends to stuff multiple kites through the skylight consectuively; the less time you have between drops the more fun you’ll have!

Advanced Simulation 2 – Night Kites

As per the basic simulation, but use the blackout curtains to make the caravan dark and push your woolling to a whole new level. The use of dim, red light is permitted.

Advanced Simulation 3 – Heavy Seas Kites

Employ the services of your local rugby team to violently rock the caravan as you work. Both sideways and forwards/backwards motion is encouraged – the more random, the more violent the more fun!

Advanced Simulation 4 – Tropical Kites

Make use of your fiery furnace or shine your stage lights to really heat things up! It’s what you wear that really makes this simulation shine. This year for him it’s all about turquoise silk boxers whilst for her, sweaty sports casual will really see you stand out from the crowd.

Advanced Simulation 5 – Multiple Night Heavy Seas Tropical Kites

This simulation is not recommended. Just say no.

We hope you enjoy your simulation as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you.

This simulation is fully endorsed by the General Woollers Union. GWU: Working for our flock.

Mark Tucker

Current position and chart. (In real time)
Crew diaries 

Mark is supporting  UNICEF, the Round the World Race official charity. You can donate to Mark’s cause by visiting his “Just Giving” page.


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