Race 13 - Day 4
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Crew Diary - The end of my adventure ...for now!!
Leg 8 and Race 13, my last one and what a final race it has been so far. It started with a very fruity, as Cliff the Training Skipper would say, over 29 knots of wind off the coast of Bermuda four days ago. Again, we were doing so well and then we wrapped the Yankee sheets around the shrouds and had to drop our head sail and start again. But not deterred we ventured on and by day two we found ourselves not just back up with the fleet but first, yep you read that correctly. Now as I sit here on day four of what hopefully is a six day race we are part of the leading group of three. Now a podium position is a real possibility, so all on board are focused, and what a parting gift it would be for the three of us leaving in New York.
Life on board continues, we said our goodbyes to two crew in Bermuda and hello to six others - three are returning leggers. We have shaken up the watches which is great as I'm now sailing and working on deck with those that I only passed in the galley before.
The weather has also shown us all possibilities and I think the only shade we haven't seen so far is snow. We have been soaked to the skin even with foulies back on. I hadn't seen those since day ten out of Seattle and also burnt to the skin. James has the blue zinc back on his nose.
As I personally come to the end of this adventure, I reflect back on why I joined and the people that I have met. Many friends were shocked when I said I would be joining back in May 2019. I was about to face living alone for the first time in 30 years as my daughter was heading off to university. I felt as though I needed a new challenge and standing in front of one of the infamous Clipper Race posters on the tube line, I thought why not? The reason for the surprise is that I wasn't just scared but absolutely petrified of deep water that I couldn't see the bottom of, and boats. I now have a love of sailing that is equal to my love of the mountains and skiing and last year completed several RORC races on a J109 and even finished the Fastnet.
So as I complete my last Mother Duty today with my new partner Chris, I look back and think of some of the characters on board. Trevor, the real and true Yorkshireman who always seems to be given a cup that leaks when it has tea in; Ben the amazing Victualler who commented on this morning's breakfast being his favourite so far, porridge and pancakes; Pat who I rescued from two encounters in Bermuda; Michael my Mother Duty partner for teaching me how to cook rice the Chinese way and for taking the best photos; Ian with his ever jolly personality and smile; Patrick our amazing Skipper who has coached and encouraged me every day; James our adorable, Additionally Qualified Person who has the patience of a saint and the best manners ever; magnanimous Magnus who kindly bakes two loaves of fresh bread daily, and finally the exuberant Nasser from Zanzibar!
It was certainly worth the two year wait and I am just so glad that I signed up. I arrive home on Sunday and five days later I will be back on the water with the girls and fellow members from the FANY sailing the 34 ft J109 again.
Thank you to Clipper Race for making this happen and I look forward to catching up with family and friends on my return and all the dinner dates already in my diary but especially reuniting with my daughter.
Over and out Julie x