AQP Dan's blog:
This final blog marks the end of a four year journey for me. What a ride and what a race to finish on. Everything finally came together for us and we cannot wait to celebrate in London.
It was a really close battle for the top three positions on Race 15. We match raced for 850 miles. This final race has thrown everything at us starting out with a strong beat up to the top of Scotland. This was followed by some nice downwind kite work through the Pentland Firth and finally some light upwind down the east coast of the UK. It provided a great opportunity for the crew to experience these incredible boats under their full spectrum of sail plans.
This race has been fierce amongst the fleet. With boats being so close for so long the small details really mattered. Another key factor in this race were the tides. Getting through the areas of strong current while it was running favourably helped separate the front boats from the rest of the pack. It has been great sailing alongside WTC Logistics and Qingdao and having them so close helped us to keep focussed on our sailing and decision making. Gains and losses and differences in angles were very apparent as we were within AIS range for most of the race. It has taken us three years to learn how to race a Clipper 70 and still we are all learning.
Over the last three years I have learnt that the Clipper Race is an adventure. A very real adventure, where the outcome is unknown. The only guarantee is that tomorrow will be different to yesterday. Without distractions life is beautifully simple. You begin to appreciate nature and the small things around you. Battling the elements and ocean-racing is part of why we are here but there is something deeper going on.
What makes this event so special is the shared experience and real connections made with like minded, active people. On board, we live in an environment where everything superficial is stripped away. Your bank balance or status does not define you. There is no giving up out here, no excuses, no easy way out. Supporting each other and working as a team to overcome huge challenges is extremely rewarding.
I have learnt that people sign up to the Clipper Race because they have to. Because the idea of being part of this consumes their every waking thought. It doesn't make logical sense to put yourself through such hardship and discomfort, however the combination of all of the above is very fulfilling, addictive and hard to find anywhere else.
Thank you for following our journey. Thank you for your support. Thank you for being part of this.
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Here we go for the last time!
Ian and Dan