AHOY THERE! To celebrate a string of outstanding achievements – a European Business Award nomination, being named #3 in the UK Startups 100, and hitting a major revenue milestone – MVF’s entire team took to the high seas of the Solent for a day of champagne and scurvy, and a night of awards and dancing.
Bright And Early
We woke with the birds and met at Victoria Station at 7am on Friday 20th, dressed for a day on the water. We were looking forward to a busy day, masterminded by Sophie and Eloise on the Socials Committee.
We ate breakfast aboard the coach and travelled the 2 hour drive to Southampton’s Ocean Village marina. After disembarking we gathered on the pontoon to wait for our ships to come sailing in.
The MVF Armada
Sophie and Eloise had hired 8 yachts in total:
The Flying Banana and The Flying Formula were slim-line sailing yachts (Sigma 38s), and Eye Eye, Bubble E, Zoe Due, Lady Louise, Zodini, and Wise Words were motorised yachts – a mixture of Azimuts, SeaLions and Fairlines.
Each boat came with a crew of two, to make sure we didn’t crash into an iceberg, the Isle of Wight, or wander into the Bermuda Triangle.
We set sail from Ocean Village on the cusp of an eventful yachting weekend. A round-the-world race was concluding just outside the marina, and the waters bobbed with magnificent sailing craft including a number of J-Class yachts. The J-Class is a beautiful, sleek boat designed in the 1930’s for the yachting elite, and is crewed by about 25 sailors. Ocean Village is one of the few marinas that’s deep enough to harbour the larger yachts so we were lucky to get the chance to see them carving through the waves.
Flying Our Flag On The Open Sea
So it was that we found ourselves drinking champagne on a work day, sailing on a calm sea on one of the only sunny days of the Summer.
MVF had held a company contest to design flags to fly from the sterns of our Armada. There were six designs, one for each boat, rippling behind us as we sailed. All local pirates wisely gave us a wide berth.
Here Be Sandwiches
We sailed to a bay sheltered by the idyllic treeline of the Isle of Wight. Here was where we dropped anchor and enjoyed a mixed lunch of sandwiches, sushi, champagne and cheesecake. After a brief digestion period when we lounged around like alligators, those who had remembered to bring bathers plucked up their courage and took turns hopping off (or falling off, Ian) the back of the boat into the refreshing cold waters of the Solent.
The current was strong and a lot of MVF swimmers found themselves in the rare position of front-crawling backwards away from the boat.
In this Olympic year not all the dives were of gold-medal standard. After half an hour of carefree belly-flopping, the swimmers came back on-board and dried their goosepimples in the sun.
It was around this stage that the Flying Formula and Flying Banana arrived on the scene. Where ours had been a life of champagne and chit chat, the crew aboard the sailing yachts had actually needed to sweat a little to propel their craft to our anchoring point in the bay.
During a second round of swimming there was the opportunity to whizz about on the rig: an inflatable dinghy that skimmed across the surface of the water.
For the final couple of hours aboard the yachts we were allowed to take turns driving, and raced home in S-shaped sweeps, lounging on the upper decks and holding on for dear life.
The Evening Begins!
Our accommodation for the night was at Southampton University halls of residence. We regrouped at the campus and got dressed for our evening out on the town.
The MVF Arches Awards
Before our meal the entire MVF posse gathered on the restaurant terrace for the MVF Archies Awards – the universe’s first lead generation awards ceremony, named in honour of the hallowed railway arches we work beneath.
Titus compered this prestigious event, introducing the categories and issuing presidential handshakes to the winners. The prizes on offer were a bottle of champagne and a 24 carat silver-plastic trophy engraved with the winner’s name and award category, all mounted on the finest faux marble a small amount of money can buy.
Food & Drink
The restaurant was all ours for the evening. We enjoyed a three course meal with plenty of wine, and in between courses we had our team pictures taken so we could remember our time – wine is no good for the memory. (Thank you to the Vestry for a delicious meal.)
Next we moved onto The Orange Rooms, where Sophie and Eloise had booked an upstairs bar with some enormous fish swimming around in tanks built into the wall. We stayed here enjoying the company tab and dancing into the early hours – if there was a trophy for best dancer no one would have won it.
After the early hours had elapsed we moved onto a second club, where we danced some more until the later early hours. At every stage people peeled off for bed, but finally a smaller, more tired group found ourselves back on Southampton University campus enjoying a night-cap and memories of a fantastic night. (To everyone who was in Southampton that night, we apologise.)
And Home Again
A couple of hours later we were reviving ourselves with a cooked breakfast, and one hour after that we were sleepily climbing aboard our bus home. The return journey was quieter and more peaceful than the outgoing busride. We arrived back in London at lunchtime on Saturday, ready for a relaxing weekend in the brand new summery weather which had appeared out of the blue.
Thank you to the Directors and to the Socials Committee for arranging our great naval adventure.