As a Leg 6 joiner, I find myself immersed in a crew made up of people keen to get the six of us joiners up to speed and re-familiarised with a boat we haven’t set foot on in eight months. The Leg 6 crew are super supportive, happy to coach and show us the ways of Imagine Your Korea, full of tips on how to manage the daily challenges of life in wind holes and at an angle.
My decision to join Leg 6 as my one and only go at this race, was laden with thoughts that ran the gamut of exhilaration to terror for over two years. I was advised to let my mind go to all the places I anticipated actually going to on this race. After all, the usual worst possible things I could logically consider, I moved to the magic and wonder that I’m hoping to experience in the Pacific.
The one thing I didn’t consider is COVID19. As I was getting down to the final weeks of preparation, checking lists, consulting with crew on earlier legs, trying to fathom how cold it will actually be, I became more concerned about how I would actually get to Zhuhai. I started paying closer attention to news of a virus that seemed to be having an extraordinary impact in the country I was meant to be travelling to. The WhatsApp groups and social media pages for the Clipper Race started being filled with speculation, fear, bravado and indignation. I didn’t want to be yet another crew member emailing the race office asking when we’d know what was going on. I relented when I came up against cancellation deadlines for an Airbnb in Zhuhai.
Finally, we had the news we’d been longing for, a destination to join the race and some details on our stopover options. A flurry of flight and accommodation cancellations and bookings ensued. I finally knew where I’d be joining the race, but still not if there’d be a stopover. I love a good logistical puzzle, but I certainly would not have wanted to figure this one out, that seems to still have some pieces missing. Kudos to the race team for having not only a Plan B, but plans all the way through to Plan F it seems. I feel confident that the best possible decisions are being made.
All of these concerns took the shine and excitement off of starting this adventure, but once the lines were slipped and we started our race by moonlight, the magic started to seep back in. My world is now filled with dolphins, flying fish, bioluminescence, the Milky Way, paper plane aircraft carriers, helming, grinding, trimming and the occasional wind hole.
Love to all at home and enjoy Spring Break