We are unbroken.
The last week has been trying, we’ve been tested, pushed to our limits, we’re battered and bruised, however we are unbroken. Of course it’s not over yet, as I sit here the wind is still a solid 30 knots occasionally gusting 45, the sea state is High (some of these waves are bigger than houses), and we have 950nm still to sail - and of course the competition is closing in. But, for now at least, it feels like the worst has passed.
The last couple of days in particular have been challenging as we beat upwind, with the boat heeled over almost to the point of broaching and falling off the top of a wave with a resounding crash every few seconds. This is tough sailing and even tougher living; no matter the conditions food must still be cooked, the living areas have to be cleaned, the bilges emptied, and everyone still has their basic needs – to eat, drink, perch on the toilets, and at the end of every watch to somehow clamber into their bunks to sleep.
The end result is that everyone has, at times, been exhausted, soaked to the skin, cold, dehydrated, sick, grumpy and argumentative. After a couple of tough watches back-to-back, last night was my turn to be pretty much all of those as I spent my off watch curled up on the saloon bench with some rehydration sachets…
And yet, we are unbroken. Qingdao has pulled through for each other. Sharp words are forgotten, support is always at hand, and brutal watches where nothing seemed to go right are soon the subject of jokes.
Maybe it’s because this time we brought enough snacks!
For now, as we cross the Greenwich Meridian for the last time until Leg 8, we are hoping we can say goodbye to the rough weather (for a while) and are setting our sights for Cape Town, less than a week’s sail away.