Race 14 - Day 13
Crew Diary - The Rhythm of Clipper Life or Eat, Sleep, Sail, Repeat
12 July

Susan Lucas
Susan Lucas
Team Unicef
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Hi all, I’m back on my last blog for Clipper Race. We are literally now in the last few hours of our Trans Atlantic race from New York to Derry, Londonderry.

42 years ago (OMG!) I sailed the Atlantic for the first time with the Ocean Youth Club (now Ocean Youth Trust). We were supposed to sail into New York past The Statue of Liberty, however this did not happen as we had run out of fresh water and had to divert to St Georges in Bermuda to refill our tanks. This was long before the days of water makers and Time Zero! We then had to sprint up to Boston for the start of the Tall Ships race so our chance to see Lady Liberty disappeared.

So, 42 long years later it was amazing for me to be able to sail up the Hudson River and take in the great view of the Statue in all her glory in the early morning sunshine. Also thank you to Liberty Landings marina for being a little oasis just over the river from the madness and fun that is Manhattan.

This Trans Atlantic race for me has been the absolute best leg since leaving Subic Bay in March. It has been fast and furious with crazy surfing and huge seas becoming the norm and has ticked all the boxes as to why being out at sea is my happy place.

All this has made me think about the wonderful rhythm that is boat life. It's what keeps the boat running everyday but is not really discussed once the parameters are set. Those that know me from home will agree that I am not a fan of routine, but sadly it is a necessary evil for most of us in our working lives. However, away from work I tend to veer to the more spontaneous (others would say chaotic) way of life, so it is odd to find out how comforting and reassuring I find the Rhythm of boat life.

The rhythm is set from day one when you are allocated into two watches. We live to our own ‘boat time' which could be UTC or whatever time zone the boat chooses. These are the ‘on watch’ or the upstairs people or the ‘off watch’, the downstairs’ people. The off watch essentially eat and sleep but the beauty is that you don’t have to think about anything because somebody wakes you up and someone else cooks for you. You then become part of the ‘upstairs people’ which includes all sailing related activities, helming, sail changes, kite packing etc but it also includes on a daily rota all essential duties that keep the boat clean, safe and free from bilges full of water. This rota is posted at the beginning of the race and from then on just happens come rain or shine, through storms or becalmed stuck in a wind hole, in the dark and the light. We very quickly become a completely self sufficient independent being racing across the world's vast oceans and I absolutely love the beauty of the rhythm.

So now as we fly towards the finish line of this spectacular New York to Derry, Londonderry race my question is where on earth am I going to find such a rhythm to comfort me back on land? Or is it that I just have to make sure I can return to the sea again as soon as I possibly can. The South Pacific looks appealing!!

As always thanks and loads of love to my boys, and to friends and family for putting up with my crazy ideas and for coping with things for me while I have been away living my dream. You are all very special to me.

That’s all from me folks, it’s been a blast and the end is going to be unbelievably emotional. Also thank you so much to all our supporters who have woken every morning and turned on their devices to see where the little Unicef triangle has got to overnight!!