Pacific Ocean Challenge: 189 miles to go – we can smell the finish line, but not victory Day 28
Wow. In less than 24 hours my mega-challenge to race a yacht across the Pacific Ocean will be over! We didn’t win the race – the winning boat, Gold Coast Australia, are already there enjoying warm beds and cold beers.*
It’s been a disappointment not to do better, but the truth is once you’re off the starting line and you can’t see your competitors, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the idea of direct competition with them. They’re experiencing different weather, in a different part of the sea – it’s hard to compare like-for-like. There are competitive people on the crew of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, but I don’t sense that the team dynamic is especially competition-focused.
But perhaps that’s the result of 6 months of not winning – there’s nothing more debilitating to morale than chronic underperformance. Self-protection kicks in for the individual, and you invest in other aspects – the non-competitive sailing experience, the social side of the race – the people on this boat certainly are making the best of the experience, despite their disappointment.
Nonetheless, it’s been a privilege to be a part of the crew. We’ve sailed 6,200 miles so far, with just 189 to go to Jack London Square, Oakland, California. We all thought it would be warmer by
now, but my breath was misting in my bunk at 5.20 when I had to get up for my deck watch, and the wave that hit me in the face this morning was freezing. The sea is massive today – really breathtaking, and pretty hairy – and yesterday, hoisting a storm jib from the bow involved a good soaking and big adrenaline-kick in the Force 9 conditions.
Quite a few of the crew have suffered injuries – sprains and strains, and injuries from falling as the boat moved unexpectedly – it’s a core workout just putting your socks on. Overall, twenty nine days at sea working hard, sleeping little and eating for fuel has been a pretty good diet and exercise boot camp. I can’t wait for some fresh fruit and veg though!
There are only so many bowls of instant noodles and freeze-dried mixed veg a girl can enjoy.
I get off in Oakland, but the fleet continue, first to Panama, then New York, up the Canadian Atlantic seaboard and then make the final hops back to Europe. The race ends in Southampton in the week before the London Olympics begin. It feels appropriate that this, the only Round the World yacht race open to amateurs, with or without sailing experience, coincides with the Olympics. Extraordinary sporting opp
ortunities are available to all.
www.clipperroundtheworld.com are currently recruiting crew for the 2013-14 race.
*At the time of writing, Mary-Ann was not aware that the Gold Coast Australia boat had been hit by a wave and was receiving emergency assistance from US and UK Coastguard agencies.Tagged in: california, clipper round the world, Pacific
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