Standing on the Cowes quayside at 7.30 am, trying to force a bacon sandwich down into a queasy stomach less than six hours after you had your last rum and coke, is, I am learning, a quintessential Little Britain experience. As is not knowing whether the gentle rocking motion you're feeling is the remnants of your sea legs or the onset of your hangover.

A Little Britain virgin, and not that far off a sailing virgin altogether, I thought why not join Jack Pringle for two days racing? How hard can it be? And, besides, how could i refuse such a kind offer from the former RIBA president.

This is before I realised that Jack Pringle's boat is a class 0  ie the fastest and largest, and certainly not decked out with cushions and handy little holders for your gin & tonic. I was going to get the real racing experience, on a stripped-down finely honed racing machine, built for power and speed.

LBCC-Fraxious-2009-cropOut in the race, it was pretty much a primal battle for survival. Other than sail changes, I just needed to get myself successfully from one side of the boat to the other without either falling in or otherwise unduly damaging myself.

On a boat like Jack's, this isn't as easy as it sounds, when the boat heels at 45 degrees and the deck suddenly becomes a wall to climb. health and safety isn't really a concept boats like that are familiar with. But then that's the fun of it.

My only actual job was hoisting and lowering the sails - jib and spinnaker - a task which needed to be completed, once again, without falling in (which Jack made clear was not an option 'we'd lose time coming round to pick you up, and we'd have to even if you'd drowned').

The job turned out to fit my own personal definition of unduly demanding exercise, but despite my feeling that probably almost anyone would do a better job at it than me, the sails went up, and we raced on, tacking and jibing up and down the Solent.

The sun was out, the wind was up, and everything kind of started to go to plan. We even started to feel like a team. Not only did i make it through till lunch, we had a fantastic race, with just a couple of minutes separating all six of the class zero giants.

LBCC-Fraxious-Crew-2009-smaMy only disappointment after a fantastic morning was to find out that our physical third place finish had been relegated to fifth place after the boats' handicaps had been taken in to account - with Learning and Skills Solutions Ltd taking the plaudits. Still you can't have everything. And many people had plenty worse.

Not everyone, it seems, had quite such a trouble free time, to say the least. Sheppard Robson's boat, Mad Max, lost its spinnaker, broke it's engine and a crew member had to be escorted to A&E after an accident on the stairwell.

A collision out at sea left the front of another boat badly damaged, grounding it for the afternoon. A crew member on board the boat of architects Purcell Miller Tritton apparently broke his finger, while a passenger on one boat - a female first time sailor - burst into tears and demanded to be taken home half way round.

But no such drama for me. All in all, my first foray to Little Britain could have gone a lot worse. Now where's that gin & tonic? And cheers to Jack.