The moment of truth was there last Monday... I started in Amsterdam at Schickler Tagliapietra Yacht Engineering for a summer of gaining work experience (intern ship, placement). And before you ask, no I haven't designed the next winning Mini/Class40/GP42/TP52/IMOCA60/VO70/AC-boat/winning super-maxi (yet?).
To paint you a picture, I got told off on the first day for wearing shoes (Brilliant!) and it being summer it was a week of flops (thongs for you Ozzies), shorts and T-shirts. Work (though not according to the ISAF-code as I'm not getting paid, so perhaps better described as 'activities') focussed on some smaller issues with projects the office is involved with and definitely has very little to do with "Yacht Design" but on the other hand all has been real engineering of parts for boats and as such has been really interesting (and challenging). The week also included a visit to a Mini to look at some of the issues after many thousands of miles of use and limited budget for maintenance. Again many lessons to be taken away from the visit and not just about the design and practical side of things but also about the interacting and issues of designer-yard-customer.
Before this real life sitting behind a desk I did do a bit of sailing (Regenboog) at my home yacht club. 100 years old and having the 90th annual KaagWeek racing in the biggest class with the biggest boats. Brilliant fun, just a shame we did not replace the part we knew needed replacing... A top 10 finish (in a 51 boat fleet) after having to clean almost an inch of dust of the deck before the first race would have been absolutely brilliant. Next up is the Copa del Rey with "Weapon" racing under IRC, I think we'll be 15 up for this event but against 5 or so TP/TP-based boats which should also mean that line honours scores will be kept...