In the home sprint, it’s 5 am Boat Time, the sun is on its way up and the wind has just died off… I’ve been to the vav Station about 5 times already to check the forecast trying to figure out when the wind is going to fill in… but that’s basically the same as reaching to open the fridge door for the 5th time when you’re hungry… to find that nothing has changed!
Amongst the million things to take out of this race, Patience is definitely one of them. We still have 300nm to go, it’s not over yet, but it does feel close to it. In the last 17 days, we’ve done 3,500nm. We have been challenged in numerous ways and learned to navigate the hardships of ocean sailing.
I find it hard to evaluate the experience yet. I know I want to go ocean sailing again but I’m not sure I can put a finger on what the actual attraction may be. I mean - rationally speaking - it sounds awful… long days of enforced confinement (found it impossible to get my daily 10,000 steps no matter how many times I went to the foredeck to untangle a line or do a headsail change), sleep deprivation, extreme discomfort at times, sea sickness and not having a shower… but it’s not even over yet and the bad moments are just a faint memory.
Instead, I remember the watches where the sun was warm on our skin yet the wind felt like a cold sting and we were singing at the top of our lungs and dancing away (always tethered, of course) to the Boney M – Rasputin or Queen and David Bowie’s – Under Pressure… with AQP Masie Bristow leading with her Disco moves. Or also, at 3 am, helming in 35knots of wind with the rain hitting you in the face that felt like ice pellets (believe it or not, it was a good moment where I felt very much alive despite being miserable, wet, and cold)… or lying in your bunk hearing the Skipper shouting words of excitement while flying along with the Spinnaker also playing some 80s absolute bangers. Or the other thousand memories that are too long to type here.
In the end, I definitely got what I was looking for: I found the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge, thriving in the face of adversity when things didn’t go my way, enduring another headsail change despite throwing up over the side while fighting to hank it on while at 45 degrees of heel dunking in and out of the South Atlantic while the bow plows through
We have definitely endured hardships, but we have gained invaluable insight into ourselves and others, managed our psychology and ultimately resisted. I read somewhere that no challenge is greater than our ability to handle it. And that is so true. And we’ve got proof… you should see my hands, they’re sandpaper!
At the end of this trip, we’ll find ourselves tired but content. The South Atlantic may be relentless but it’s also breathtakingly beautiful. We’ve learned to dance with its moods, from milk pond calms to feisty winds while dealing with technical problems, and with each passing day, we’ve become one with the elements. This is an adventure like no other and we’re savouring every moment of the wild adventure.
Oh, that’s it…! I guess that’s the appeal, we are adventurers, and we were hungry for adventure!
Anyway, it’s changeover time with the other watch and time for breakfast and a nap!
Over and out.