"It ain't over 'till its over"
It was the second time this race our watch was awoken midsleep for an all hands on deck call...
Was it another spinnaker change? We were becoming champions at wooling and flying new spinnakers, sometimes the same one wooled, bagged, flown, wooled, bagged and flown in the same day. It was becoming so common that we had averaged nearly one wooled and bagged spinnaker change each watch, we started a little bit of healthy competition between watches on timing the process.
When we would sit in the same exact position we had just a few watches earlier, wooling the same exact spinnaker we had previously bagged, you could get frustrated at the amount of time put into the process and how quickly it came undone when hoisting the kite to fly. Pop, pop, pop... all those tightly wooled, neat sausages opening in an instant before your eyes; you had to force yourself to forget how long it had taken you to get them bound together in the first place.
But we kept reminding ourselves as we sat down with a freshly cut bundle of wool each time to prepare yet another spinnaker, "This is what keeps us in our podium position." And it was, it did... until it didn't.
... Starboard watch appeared half dazed on deck, prepared to take down yet another spinnaker, and then settle back into bed. But the atmosphere on deck told us differently.
"The race is being called in 2 hours," said our Skipper.
What? Wasn't expecting that one, but the shock didn't flow over us until we asked what position we were in.
Essentially last. What????
Now that was actually a bigger surprise than the race being called way earlier than expected. Our watch had gone off to the comfort of knowing that we were in a podium position at that point. But how could we have slipped to last place, for one of the first times this entire race, and to our luck the race was now being called in 2 hours? Just enough time for the entire crew to sit together on deck and let the deadening sense of defeat consume us all.
Silence. And the atmosphere mirrored our feelings. We awaited the call of the race, with a little ounce of hope that our position amongst the fleet would improve just as quickly as we lost it.
Then Derry~Londonderry~Doire emerged from the thick fog, close enough that we could shout out to their crew on deck, then they ducked behind us and disappeared just as quickly as they appeared. What felt like a phantom sighting left us alone again, surrounded by a physical and emotional fog that had us pondering what seemed like a phantom race that so easily slipped away from us.
The oven was fired up for some much needed moral-boosting brownies. Race 1 was certainly a sobering experience, confirming that no race is over until it's over... and sometimes it's over well before you ever expected.