Race 13 - Day 4
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Crew Diary - Derry-Londonderry to Liverpool
Leg 8/ Race 13/ Day 4 – July 26th
Life has been busy on Qingdao for the past few days so did not have much time to reflect, especially given that the race will be over soon (feel like the training was just yesterday!). As we passed virtual mark Scilly and finally hoisted the kite after beating close into the wind for days, the boat is finally back in reasonable conditions (in fact, really champagne sailing conditions with beautiful weather for the past few hours) to write a blog.
About a year ago when I was writing essays for my MBA application, one school asked one simple yet intriguing question - “What matters to you the most?” To be frank I had never thought of this type of questions before, and I struggled to understand what the true meaning of life was. (Sadly, as a result, I did not receive the offer. )
As a native born and raised in Qingdao, I used to go to the beach every day after school and immersed into the breathtaking view of sunset. My first encounter with large yacht sailing was 8 years ago - I volunteered in 09-10 season Clipper Race to be an onshore coordinator of Team Edinburgh. I still remembered that one Scottish circumnavigator sailed around the world with his bagpipe, and brought it to my welcome party at home. Inviting him to play in a residential building around midnight after a few drinks definitely ended on the top of my “I wish I have not done” list that year (imagine faces of furious neighbours knocking my door).
Inspired by Guo Chuan, a Clipper Race veteran from Qingdao and the first Chinese solo non-stop circumnavigator , I decided to expand my comfort zone to ocean racing. Being part of the same Clipper Race as race crew on my home boat is a dream come true and means a lot to me. Living at a 45-degree angle in rough sea condition for days and steering the boat into a 30+ knot gale is crazy and unprecedent. In the face of sleep deprivation and tough conditions aboard, I've had an incredible time with my teammates in the past month. Through this experience I learned to always challenge myself by taking on experiences even where my skill set may be inferior to others, and to adapt to make sure I contributed to a larger effort. The race helps me learn an incredible amount about myself to grow personally and professionally in my life. I still do not have answers to the question I posted at the beginning of this blog, yet I think I will eventually get there from all different experiences I gain.
Sailing-wise we are currently in a tight downwind drag race with Liverpool 2018 next to us in 300 meters (I can even smell the coffee they are drinking on deck!), with Garmin and Unicef also close behind. Everyone is pretty happy that the boat is back flat (especially the mothers), and mood onboard is very high. We are only less than 200nm to Liverpool and all teams will push hard for that last race podium.
Shout out to my parents – thank you for always supporting me no matter when I had my ups or downs, and always encouraging me to chase my dreams. Look forward to seeing all my supporters in Liverpool soon, especially those who travel far - I know you all just wanted an excuse for vacation ;) Lastly, Alice, I must confess that I have been drinking Coke and Fanta on this final race (did not know that we had a soft drink option before!).
Fair winds and a following sea!
Shake and bake,
Bowen Wang (CV 29)
Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up,
but a comedy in long-shot.
- Charlie Chaplin