Crossing the finishing line has produced a palpable sense of relief +
achievement in the crew + a perceptible level of agree-ability + self belief
in the Skip. Jamaica has certainly had its run of bad luck (mask becoming
unattached (leg 1), rigging failure twice! (leg 5), medi-vac of engineer to
Japan (leg 6)) all of which resulted in poor racing results. Pete had come into
the event with the stated objective of a podium placing but that hope was now
history + he had seemingly resigned his ambitious to getting us back to
Blighty safely (a not unadmirable position). But winning the Ocean Sprint
changed everybody – from that moment there was a change. Everybody is now
bright-eyed + bushy tailed!
Ocean yacht racing requires a whole new outlook on how to achieve the
result you seek. In every other sport in which I have partaken personal
effort – run faster, pull that oar harder, train more intelligently – reaps
rewards. But in ocean sailing personally doing things faster + harder isn’t
necessarily the output that wins the race (although it certainly helps when
changing a tack or sail), it is doing it intelligently + concentrating on the
detail all the time that makes you a winning team. Lesson for life?
Actually now that we are no longer racing the 17 days when we were seem
totally surreal. Did we really do that?
What were the highlights?
The race start certainly made a big impression – sailing tack after tack, up
wind, close hauled, healed seriously over in close proximity to the other crews
made me feel like I was living.
Funnily enough surviving the squall with in 40 knot winds, boiling sea, golf
balls of ice + a deck angle that made you feel one wrong move + you would be
hanging there like a Christmas decoration (we were all very much tethered on).
That was living!
Slogging it out to the finish with Garmin. Mile after mile adjusting the trim,
tweaking here, easing there, constantly eating into their lead + then over
hauling them, seeing the opposition + the result of our efforts. And then
setting our sights on Henri Lloyd + similarly eating into their lead + knowing
that had the race not be shortened we would have had them. Jamaica definitely
in hunt mode, the collective desire to achieve – that was living too.
But probably the highlight of highlights has to go to the dolphin show at the
finish. I almost cried. Don’t know how clairvoyant dolphins are but the
exuberance of their display, just the positive celebration of being alive –
said it all for us on Jamaica. And it was right there and then as we crossed
the line – what sort of coincidence was that. Thank you dolphins that was
really really living.