Into the race sprint

Yesterday we were becalmed and life was beginning to look like groundhog
day and today we are roller-coastering along, the wind picked-up, the boat
alive, bucking and quivering over the water and we are back to life on the
edge – today it feels like we are definitely racing.

Libations to the wind gods because with the wind comes a greater
positivity within the crew – there are sailing-related tasks to be done:
sails trimmed, navigational choices to be made, other boats to catch-up and
a race to be fought. The fact that your food once again is running away
from you, using the heads is darn-right tricky and navigating your way
round the boat a life-threatening experience are well – incidental. Our
destination is New York and we want to get there. Many of the crew are
worrying about missing the people they arranged to meet there if we are
late but more importantly we are a racing crew + this is a – not very
comfortable – racing yacht and quite frankly it is easier to self-justify
the comfort sacrifices if we are doing well.

Wind holes are a dreaded – and preferably avoided – part of the sailing
package. When becalmed it is very easy to become resigned to ‘one’s
lot’, difficult to motivate yourself to do crew/boat/race-related
activities. Many of the crew just sit and read and go into voice-
activation mode only (i.e. jump-to only at the skipper’s command).
Sometimes I read but mostly I don’t. I prefer to stay in the present and
watch the textures of the sea + observe the view – which is always an ever
changing study in blue. I am never still on land – why do three activities
+ complete them successfully when you could do seven + be late for them
all? That’s me. Right now – when after this am I ever going to see an empty
horizon open from one end to the other – I don’t find it too difficult to
be still.

The up-side of watching are the dolphins. We have seen a depressing small
amount of wildlife on our journey – but occasionally somebody must contact and order a show because seeing dolphins can only make you
feel glad. We had the companionship of a pod of speckled dolphins this
morning – silver + grey and lithe as they impressively french-plated their
way under our bows, beautiful in the shafts of morning sunlight that showed
the sea to be crystal-clear as well as rich deep blue. Just WOW! Not very
profound but thank you dolphins – what an amazing start to the day.

And now? We entered the sea sprint at lunchtime today – a measured distance
over which all the crews are timed. We won the sprint in the last race +
are doing our very best to repeat that endeavour this time round too. Back
to attention to detail, constantly trimming the foresails, navigating the
best course between speed + direction (some times mutually exclusive if the
wind is in the wrong direction). But there is an element of luck – so
please wind gods no wind holes please and a good lively breeze to get us
over the sprint finish in a good (best) time (oh and please not at too
close hauled).


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