Having now been away from home for over four months and sailed to the other side of the world to reach the halfway point of this Clipper RTW adventure, I have been reflecting on the things that I miss. Perhaps surprisingly, or not, as might be the case, they consist mainly of things that I enjoy and take for granted in everyday life. Things like: spending time at home, in my garden or in my study processing images on my iMac. Travelling down to Doncaster to take my Mum out to Whitby’s for fish and chips – especially if she is paying – and perhaps meeting my brother Tony for a quick pint or two later in the day. Going to the match at Leeds or the annual trip away with Graham, Jeff, Ken and ‘The Boys’ MOT. Popping over to Melsonby to catch up with Martin and Julie. Photography competition night at NCC and the odd photography day trip with Paul or Simon. Richmond and all of my SOC and Probus friends. Striding out over the Yorkshire Dales and NY Moors with Bruce Frank and Yvonne on an SOC walk or up in The Lake District for my regular Saturday walks with David. How I miss my county and the North of England in general. Dinghy sailing at TDSWC, with Chris and Tony, possibly being joined by my nieces and grand nephews for a day on the water and one of Julie’s picnics. Yacht racing around the cans on Sundays or Wednesdays followed by ‘the inquest’ a meal and pint, to review our success or not, at the T&C clubhouse. A midweek pub lunch and a natter with Julie, Paul and Anne. But most of all I miss my life generally with my wife and soulmate Julie T. Her smile, zest for life, love of coffee and her favourite place in our house, going out for a Chinese meal or a ‘tea time special’, and basically just having her by my side on our journey through life.
So what has this extraordinary Clipper Round the World Yacht Race adventure, delivered me to date to recompense me for the loss, if only temporarily, of the above. Well actually lots: exposure to a great and different year long adventure, testing my endurance, resolve and courage in often difficult and challenging circumstances. Seeing and experiencing the natural world ‘in the raw’ - great boiling seas, howling winds, the heat of the doldrums with not a breath of wind on the water, more fabulous sunsets and sunrises than you could throw your hat at, nights under magnificent star filled skies alone with Dad (clever link to an earlier blog!). The wildlife: the wonderful soaring albatross and the sea birds in general with their ability to glide effortlessly just above the surface of the raging seas, regular visits from pods of dolphins racing alongside the yacht and the odd whale crossing our path. The opportunity to visit foreign lands meet their people and experience their cultures and hospitality. But most of all, the opportunity to spend time and share my adventure with kindred souls from all over the world, of all ages and creeds, sharing the common goal of wanting to sail a leg of the race or, as in my case, to complete the course and circumnavigate the world. These people are special and I count myself lucky to be able to spend time and share my adventure and a year of my life with them.
But do you know what is best of all? No? Well it is the fact that when this extraordinary Clipper Round the World Yacht Race adventure is finally over and I can go back to my ‘ordinary’ everyday life enriched and see, value and enjoy each little part of it with new and thankful eyes. I am one very lucky (Yorkshire) man.