"The Path Forward"
There is a certain peaceful solidarity when helming, especially at night. Everything lays before you, except the moon on my back last night, which left a calm and quite cockpit glowing in front of me.
Since my 5-hour helming stint, my watch leaders no longer feel the need to shadow me at the helm, watching the instruments like a hawk to make sure I was up to speed and keeping course. So literally everything and everyone laid before me, and it made me think of what my cousin said to me before I left for this leg.
While I said I was excited for a relatively (compared to Race 2) short sail to Cape Town, my cousin said something along the lines of: "The destination is just a place. Enjoy the journey. We only ever walk the same path once."
And while another set of thousands of miles of ocean stretched out before me, I sat on the helm reminding myself to enjoy this very moment. Even though night watches and really the daily routine can become monotonous, the exact moment you are in only comes once. And then it's gone, never to be had again.
So I enjoyed the view. A sea state that will never be exactly the same, a moonlight that will never light up the cockpit in the same way, and the exact point of an ocean that I will probably never cross again.
Standing behind the helm at the back of the boat offers an amazing perspective. You have control of this 70-foot vessel that stretches out far in front of you, you see and move in the direction to be headed, and you catch moments of movements from the bodies of people who were once strangers and now are your close companions on the journey of a lifetime.
It's almost an out of body experience, when sometimes you have to remind yourself that you are really here doing this.
While we all have signed up for this race for different reasons, I have realized that there is something very powerful that unites us all. We all want to take the helm in our lives and keep moving our boats forward.