One month to race start!

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I can hardly believe that it is one month to race start.
It seems like forever the race has been two years away – knowing it was ‘hence’ I had sort of parked the thought – I had signed up to have an adventure in the future. I was excited by the idea of the adventure but at the same time it was sort of unreal. Even undertaking the race training didn’t make the prospect of the race any more real as each level of training was an isolated mini adventure in its own right. I met new, interesting people; learnt new skills; rehearsed old ones that had become rusty with disuse; familiarised myself with boat-living and acclimatised generally to boaty ways. The build-up to the race in itself has been one girl’s-own adventure including an exciting Tartan Socks outing at Easter 2017 under the command of former crewmates Duncan Wills and James Lawlor (JGAR 13/14) … a hint of what’s to come when the Scottish weather rolled in …
Things began to get real with Crew Allocation back in May 2017 – how things unfolded that day would decide the flavour of the year to come. I remember walking to the Town Hall feeling like a three year old at Christmas …. what would I get from Santa? … would it be my heart’s desire? … And then I found out I was sailing with Chris Kobusch on Qingdao … Yes! Yes! Yes! my heart did gymnastics round the inside of my chest.
Since then two things have happened. Firstly, I was asked by my skipper to be the crew victualler – a role that I have accepted with trepidation since being the victualler is right at the top of the list of jobs you cannot get wrong and I although I have several skills, I didn’t get my Brownie badge for ‘expedition catering’! Second up,  I have done my level 4 training with some of the other members of Qingdao. Verdict?  Ace, but tiring week when the crew began to show some of our metal and I tried out my victualling talents for the first time. I came away buzzing from our time at sea – we sailed well and (slightly to my amazement!) we came out of the week not too badly fed!
Each day now the race gets more real. I feel a heady mix of over-excitement (life is there to be lived!), responsibility (getting the food right is a serious business and 20-odd people for 5 weeks (Race 1) is a lot of food!), anticipatory terror (I have never sailed in a really, really big sea!) and reality (packing the remains of my land based existence into boxes).  Mostly it is the excitement that carries the day – Bring it on! I want the adventure!
I know it will be hard sometimes, I know sometimes I will have to dig deep, but also sometimes it will be pure fun! Learning to sail  – I had never been near an ocean-going boat before – has taught me great respect for all who sail and have sailed in the past, for the sea and for our planet.
We have an awesome world and I want to be there to watch the sunrises and the sunsets, I want to marvel at the wildlife and ever changing personality of the sea, I want to visit places that I have never been to (the field is pretty open on that account!), I want to meet up with friends from former times now scattered round the world, I want to learn to really be able to sail and read the weather from looking at the sky. I guess I want a lot of things!
Sometimes I just want to jump around I am just that excited …
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Victual virgin

This is the taste of things to come … organising the food for our coming level 4. I have now realised that what I have to be really good at is long multiplication … like the ingredients of a one pot meal x the number of the crew x the length of the sail. Man! is that a great deal of food … and the having bought it where to hide it on the boat. Well first shop done and now learning on the job ….