Race 14 - Day 11
Crew Diary - Wind, Waves and Winning Tactics
10 July

Roland Schiebel
Roland Schiebel
Team Qingdao
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Welcome to another episode of “life at an angle”. It’s been one week since my last blog and day 12 at sea just started. We’ve been doing very well last week and have been the fastest boat in the fleet almost every day. Thanks to the strong winds, the well thought out racing tactics by our skipper and a relentlessly hard working crew, we almost caught the main group. It’s very exciting to check our position every morning and see how much closer we got to them. We’ve had strong winds consistently and sometimes 5m waves which made this a pretty bumpy ride as well.

Sailing fast is so much different from “just” sailing. In fact, we entered the ocean sprint section last night, which is the distance between 2 longitudinal lines, about 240 miles and the goal is to be as fast as possible in that section to gain extra points. So, while I’m writing this, the boat is trimmed for high speed and heeled over at its most extreme angle so far. No idea what the exact number is. I’d guess over 30 degrees but it feels absolutely insane. Imagine doing everything you do every day but with gravity pulling you and everything around you sideways. Eating soup, brushing your teeth, going to the toilet or simply just walking somewhere becomes real work and a real challenge sometimes. Things are flying all over the place if you don’t secure them. It’s really an entirely different way of living than living on land.

I’ve experienced some rougher and some really amazing times onboard. The hardest for me is to not get any long quality sleep. 3 times 2h just isn’t the same as 6h in one setting. I just can’t wait to sleep in a real bed again. The nicer things onboard are the freshly made bread every morning (which are now delicious scones, after we ran out of yeast), the brownies and other cake. Those who know me, know I love cake. So that is definitely a really nice treat. It doesn’t help with the weight loss goals I set for myself though but that’s ok. I’m certain I’ve still lost some weight despite having cake almost every day.

Another really amazing experience is the wildlife we get to see. Many times dolphins just appear out of nowhere, do a few of their elegant jumps, accompany the boat for a few minutes and then just disappear again once everyone ran to get their cameras. However, we’ve still managed to get some really nice shots.

We’re getting closer to the finish line. Maybe another 3-4 days or more depending on the weather. So this might be my last blog. Overall I’m very glad that I did this and for all the experiences I made along the way. I’m incredibly grateful for all I have learned about sailing. I love the ocean and this will definitely become a new hobby of mine. I’m not so sure about racing though. I’m probably going to become a fair weather sailor. However, I wouldn’t want to miss the experience of having crossed the Atlantic on a racing yacht. The hard work involved, the tight knit crew, the teamwork, the minimalism, all that definitely changes you and makes you appreciate the things you have in life.