Race 13 - Day 5
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Crew Diary - Derry-Londonderry to Liverpool
An attack of Sea Fever – or, 'Dare to Dream' arrives home
Well, here we are almost at the end of our epic Clipper voyage around the world, after a full year (including boat prep week and the delivery trip from Gosport to Liverpool). I am reminded of that old witticism about Engineers (suitably amended to fit the occasion): 'A year ago I couldn't even SPELL Circumnavigator ...and now I AM one!'
Team Dare To Lead is currently off the SW corner of the Emerald Isle, facing the rising onslaught of wind and waves. Earlier we changed down from the Yankee 1 (our largest working headsail), via the Yankee 2, to our smallest working headsail, the Yankee 3. A reef has been pulled down in the mainsail, in readiness for the heavy weather that is surely coming. But we are now 'going home to Liverpool' and there is a special energy on board the boat: our long voyage will soon be over and life is certainly about to change.
Looking back on my own Dare To Lead fully-round-the-world experience on CV25, the first verse of John Masefield's famous poem 'Sea Fever' comes to my mind:
“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sails shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.”
Masefield's descriptions all sound very familiar to me. For example, on deck this morning at 02:00, the helmsman looked ahead at the misty sky and muttered: 'Great - I have a star directly in front of the forestay to aim at'. As the weather conditions deteriorated later in the day, I can report that the wheel was DEFINITELY kicking and, as CV25 was occasionally being pushed up to windward by the larger waves, the white sails were indeed shaking.
Reading more lines of Sea Fever, Mr. Masefield gives us further information about his love of the sea:
“And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the seagulls crying.”
All of which is, of course, a pretty accurate description of Leg 6 and the Pacific Ocean crossing! It would appear, therefore, that this poem Sea Fever is actually a very fair representation of the many different aspects of Clipper Round-the-World 2017-18. Masefield even goes on to mention the 'laughing fellow-rovers' on board his ship ...and the Clipper experience IS indeed all about one's fellow crew members. Observations from my own Clipper Circumnavigation journey include:
- Some (lucky) people are extremely competent at almost ALL aspects of sailing and life onboard;
- Everybody is good at SOMETHING (you just need to search hard, in some cases – Ed.);
- A POSITIVE attitude to life is contagious and can become an onboard epidemic;
- Even in the tough times, shared HUMOUR will lift the team;
To conclude my Clipper 'blog-journey':
During one stopover, a local newspaper reporter wrote a story that included a number of glaring errors, including the 'fact' that CV25 was named 'Dare to Dream'. Perhaps, in reality, sailing around the world is ACTUALLY about Daring to Dream. Therefore, in closing my final Blog, I would like to salute all my fellow Dreamers on board CV25 with whom I have shared my Circumnavigation. In addition, I would like to thank my onshore supporters, including my wife Hazel, daughter Elle and son Alistair, without whom this journey would not have been possible in the first place.
Contributed by Neil Harvey RTW