It is now two weeks since we set sail from London on what had to be one of the most amazing and unforgettable days of my life. Being on the em>GREAT Britain entry, made the day even more special and the hairs on the back of my neck still stand up when I think about Tower Bridge opening for our yacht to lead the flotilla through and my family joining the scores of people lining the banks of The River Thames to wave us off.
Now that our momentary 'celebrity status' has passed, our efforts are now concentrated on what we all came to do; to sail GREAT Britain as quickly as we can around the world and win the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Race.
With a second position fought for and won in the London to Brest race, we got just the start that we wanted and entered race two (Brest to Rio de Janeiro) in high spirits.
The high spirits on-board remain despite the testing conditions so far and the various 'curve balls' that GREAT Britain has thrown us since leaving France. It has certainly been an interesting week and we have had a number of tests as a crew ranging from repairs and improvisations on the rigging and deck ware to mother nature and the Bay of Biscay (which by all accounts could have been much worse!). We are making good progress however and working hard to ensure that we remain competitive and in with a chance of victory.
Being honest, adjusting to life on-board is taking a bit of time for me although I am settling in. Needless to say leaving my girlfriend, family and friends behind was very difficult however their constant support and encouragement makes such a monumental difference and knowing they are routing for me and the yacht gives a much needed boost during those harder times. As a team, we have bonded incredibly well and are working efficiently together to achieve maximum results whilst ensuring we have maximum fun. Everyone has been encouraged to try the various roles on-board and I think this definitely helps maintain the fun factor. I have spent a great deal of time on the helm which has been extremely tiring and difficult however also immensely rewarding. According to my watch, I have the biggest smile on my face when I'm trying to beat my own speed personal best! That could of course just be me grinning through fear...
So Rio here we come...a somewhat surreal thought and I still struggle to gauge what my emotions will be when I see Brazil appear on the horizon after sailing 4,800 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. With around 14 days still left to run I have plenty of time to get used to the idea so until then I'll keep concentrating on GREAT Britain and belting out ever increasing boat speeds. With the mandatory 'Dale smile' of course.
Dale Acton (aka Big D), Legs 1,2,3,4, GREAT Britain