So here we are - seven months into the race and five days into leg six and we are sailing alongside the race's typical leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. We have also officially circumnavigated the Earth after crossing our leg one route two days ago. We all have a feeling of dangerous relief.
Dangerous because you assume being back in the Atlantic means we are nearly done, but we all know that we still have a long way to go and a long two months of tough sailing still ahead of us.
We also know that if we sail smart, Team SCA could still reach the final standings in Sweden. Now is not the time for us to sit back and coast, in fact it's just the opposite. It's 100% the time to immerse our heads into the game and perform at 110%. The race has not been won yet, nor has it been lost.
At the moment, Team SCA has an advantage. We have now been sailing together as a team for a year - we know each other's strengths and weaknesses, much like we know the back of our own hand.
As a team we have also already sailed a portion of leg six. A year ago we sailed from Lanzarote, Canary Islands, to Newport in the USA and picked up the latter half of the leg, so we know about some of the tricky conditions we might face.
A year ago, Carolijn said that this length of time together would become our strength. It would become something that the other teams would not have, even if they had all the experience in the world. I believe Carolijn's words are standing true this leg, more so than ever.
For one, it's the first time that after five days out at sea we've still got the whole fleet in sight. The guys have been doing this since the beginning and we are slowly become a part of it - it's what we've wished for and it's pretty cool racing!
In the past, Team SCA has more often than not been sailing at the back of the fleet, and for competitive women, this has been far from ideal. But now we are continuing to develop and prove ourselves, and we can see that this is slowly becoming "our" leg.
We know this part of the world, we've trained in the trade winds off Lanzarote, we know we can handle big seas and big winds should we come across them in the North and we know each other. We have a sense of confidence that is really allowing us to own this leg and be a dominating force the last few days.
However, at the risk of becoming too confident, we all know (perhaps too well) that anything can happen out here and that often a bad cloud can become a game changer. Nonetheless, being here today has us all taking a bit of a deep breath: we are giving them a run for their money.
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