On reflection, it’s hard to think we left Alicante 25 days ago, yet at the same time it feels longer. We have encountered the highs and the lows, we have learned so much about the boat and about ourselves as individuals. I personally found the closet thing to breaking point, and on the same flip of the coin, discovered why I wanted to do this race so badly. It’s about striking the balance, and for the majority this has been both rewarding and challenging in a good way. We only become stronger, we only learn more by total of the sum of experiences.
Tom Johnson said it best: “I think I’ve learned to appreciate things, simple stuff like food and a bed”.
We can’t predict a finish…those of us that have sailed into Cape Town before know all to well its way too early to count the chickens. A lead of 3 or 4 hours can be lost on approach so we wait, we wait patiently and keep the eggs from hatching.
As we reach our first destination, Salty (Rob Salthouse) sums up the Leg and our approach to Cape Town:
With the finish of leg 1 drawing ever closer to completion, not helped by the lack of wind from any favourable quarter I might add, I’ve been thinking of the journey so far for Team Vestas Wind. It is still less than 3 months ago that I met my new team mates in the sheds at Green Marine to help pull this project together to compete in this years race, but yet here we are close to the end of Leg 1 which is pretty gratifying to all involved.
Along the way, some great milestones and friendships have started developing. Nico has done a great job in selecting our three under 30s, and they have come with a great attitude and willingness to learn and develop. To say they were green to this type of sailing would have been a big understatement for our two Danes: Their first overnight experience was the first night of our trip to Alicante, and from there on, they have been soaking up every little aspect of offshore yachting they can, and I think enjoying it at the same time.
Some of Pete’s comments to date have summed that up, such as, “I thought they were just clouds, but now I understand much more what they mean and what a good or bad cloud is”. After sailing at pace on the helm for an hour or so one day, one of his best comments came: “You’ve wrecked the rest of my sailing now…how can I go back to sailing those slower boats ever again?”. The three boys have been a pleasure to work with and have developed and picked things up really quickly from day one, and this in itself will put us in a good place for the rest of the race.
So as a team, we have start to come together and gel as one as leg 1 has progressed. We still have lots to learn both about ourselves and our boat but, I think we are in a great place to do this in a quick manner. We have had some very strong points in leg 1, and have given ourselves many opportunities to mix with the favourites, and to let them know that we are definitely in this race. This is very pleasing given the timeframe and sailing time we’ve had on these boats compared to our competitors. At the end of this leg, we will have tripled the number of sailing miles we have done onboard. The learning curve has been short and steep over this period, and I’m sure there is lot’s more we can get out of the boat yet to close the gap on our friends in front of us.
We onboard are certainly looking forward to getting to Cape town and catching up with family, enjoying a cold well-deserved beer, but I think mostly I am looking forward to my first day off since starting with the team at the beginning of August, a sleep-in, followed by a lazy lunch and some time to just chill and recharge the batteries.
Then it will be back to business…lots to do, lots to learn and plenty of fire and passion to hit leg 2 with. The desire and burn to be first into Abu Dhabi.
See you all soon in Cape Town!