Race 13 - Day 6
Crew Diary - Derry-Londonderry to Liverpool
27 July

Anne-Lise Perrin
Anne-Lise Perrin
Team Unicef
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My last blog. Kind of weird to write that down. Might suffer from withdrawal symptoms after the end of this race and start one on my own about my fascinating life as a banker in the City... (spoiler alert: work hard, party hard..).

Saying I am not an emotional person is an understatement, I am all about logics and chains of causes and consequences. It appears though that this Race made me a bit less robotic and a bit more human: I will dearly miss the friends I have made on-board but I also learnt to appreciate the friendships and family support I have at home.

Reflecting on the past months, I have come up with a list of "I will miss vs. I will not miss at all", in no particular order, that I might come back to after this race when the nostalgia kicks in. I have read once that the brain forgets the pain and remembers only the good thing (I think it was actually an evolutional trick by the brain for childbirth...)

- A perfect surf down the waves, the boat accelerating, the speedometer getting up, the speed wind increasing in my face vs. A gust upwind, the boat getting out of control, the heel increasing, the pain in my shoulders as I try to bring it back

- Being at the bow in the sunset, looking at the spinnaker, with the swoosh of the water separating under the bow of the boat, and the occasional dolphin playing around the boat vs. Getting slapped in the face and the body by waves while trimming the sail at the bow, the boat going up and down and my stomach following the same trend, only a millisecond later, while I am hanging out for dear life on the guardrail and wondering what the hell did I drink before re-signing up for this

- Trimming by the shrouds in perfect spinnaker weather, with the boat accelerating and a geyser of fluorescent water coming from the side of the boat vs. Trimming in fickle winds, see the spinnaker collapse like a badly inflated hot air balloon and feel my heart sink with it

- Running the perfect evolution, where everything goes smoothly, and everybody knows what they are doing vs. Running a bumpy evolution and getting frustrated, and frustrating people in the process (think loud French accent saying "PULL-ON-THE-LA-ZY-SHEET FOR GOD'S SAKE")

- Coming down from a good watch to find a good meal ready to eat in good company vs. Coming down from a shit watch in an Armageddon landscape, people puking everywhere, wet sails covering the floor, at an angle of 45 degrees

- Laughing my butt off with crew mates to the point of crying, about stupid little things or crazy big things (big big thoughts off to John, Spencer, Sylvie, Seb, Harry, Mik, Baby Thom, Cam, Marco, Tim, Ash, Sam, Nic, Ellie, Jeni, Alison, Helen, Liz, Guy, Lizzie) vs. Waking up grumpy in the morning feeling pissed off at the world (fine, some might call it being French)

- Getting out of my wet foullies vs. getting in my still wet foullies

- Getting from a wet and cold boat into my warm sleeping bag vs. getting out of my very warm sleeping bag into a still wet and cold boat

- The skipper in a good mood vs. the skipper in a bad mood

- A perfect dinner by chef Neil vs. Baked beans / Tinned salmon (com'on guys, I am sure the Geneva convention has excluded the use of these "food" as qualifying under mental torture)

- Keith making me a perfect coffee ready for me when I wake up vs. Smelling fried food when I wake up (fried bacon, a total insult to the French nose in the morning). Might have to ask him to move to the UK afterwards so he can keep it up!

- The fabulous skies of sunset with beautiful cumuluses diffusing the light and creating shapes and landscapes of their own vs. Very dark and big clouds sneaking from behind at an amazing pace (with probably a nasty name ending in -us)

- Being rocked to sleep by the movement of the boat and the sound of the water against the hull vs. Being suddenly thrown out of my bunk by a tack in a loud and shouty atmosphere and the odd wave coming through the hatch to find me struggling to keep my butt in my bink, both feet against the opposite wall, desperately trying to lift my now wet bunk with my own weight on it (and cursing the peanut butter diet I have been following)

- Watching the endless sea from the top of the mast, in a moment of perfect silence and isolation vs. Getting to the said top of the mast (think hoisting a ready to roast chicken balancing around the mainsail)

- Witnessing or being the recipient of many random acts of kindness, as I have rarely seen before, from stranger to stranger in hard times vs. The unavoidable but however statistically extremely low number of cowardly / selfish / snappy moments

- Witnessing hilarious miscommunications between native English speakers (Brits vs Yankees are a must watch, especially on tea preparation: "what do you mean by "let it brew"?") vs. Struggling to get myself understood in English and see people having a withdrawal moment when I come across as rude (like pinching their nose as if smelling bad blue cheese)

I discussed with someone recently that being on deck on the open sea was, is and will remain the biggest times in my life of continuous happiness, when I have felt most at peace with the world and myself (not a small achievement, being by nature a grumpy French person after all). I will remain eternally thankful for that life changing adventure (just saying for the office: I am still not quitting though ;)).

Big thanks to the Race office and maintenance teams, these women and men are working in stressful and challenging conditions, always with a smile and a kind word, and that race would have not been the same without them.