This north-south leg from Sanya to the 'city of Sails' in Auckland has so far delivered everything you could hope for, and expect, from the toughest ocean race in the world. Life on board has been pretty much full-on since the start and I'm amazed at how the whole crew accept, handle and deal with every situation that is thrown at them. ..
There was no better day for me to start the Volvo Ocean Race. After three legs of watching my team mates race from the shore, I've been itching for my turn to join them on the Volvo 65 - though after going through everything with Corinna (my fellow Onboard Reporter), it was sad to wave goodbye as we left Sanya...
Sailing to the Eastern world has been a bit surreal. When you're out there, offshore, you're in a bubble--you know you're moving and racing to some place new, but it's not like traveling on an aeroplane. Travel by air takes hours, not weeks, so when you arrive in a new place it's generally not as over whelming.
Despite a less than comfortable life down below, we're all pretty excited for the next couple of days. Around 2100 tonight we're due to reach the top of Sumatra (finally!) and begin our journey through the Malacca Straits. The Malacca Straits are like a busy marine highway and we have a narrow path to scoot through, which also includes fishing boats and shallow waters.
It's a very interesting time here in Abu Dhabi as we break down the leg. The important thing to remember is that this is all a time for the benefit of the team and the race as a whole. So, watch out, Team SCA is coming back on 3 January with a fighting vengeance as we navigate our way through tricky seas to Sanya, China!
If you've watched any of the Volvo Ocean Race video content (you can find a bunch of ours on the Team SCA website), you'd most likely gather that out here it's 100% carnage 100% of the time. However, this can be a bit deceptive as generally, especially in the last few days, for us it's been far from carnage.
Life on board is finally beginning to look "normal" again. For the last four days (although it feels like more!) we've been living a flat life. Cooking, changing, sleeping, and eating were all incredibly easy. Yes, it's been excruciatingly hot so life hasn't been that easy, but you are easily spoiled by flat water, no wind conditions.
If we had to sum Leg 1 up in a single word, it would be 'incredible'. In the 27 days between Alicante and Cape Town we really did see a bit of everything. There were good days and bad days; it was up and down, windy and light, sunny and raining. A true test of our abilities as a team, and an amazing way to begin this epic journey.
13 days in and we're not half way yet?! Sure it's hard to wrap your head around--another 12-13 days.... 26 days in total. But see that's the best part, we all love it out here in our bubble. To race on Team SCA is what we've always wanted, it's what we've trained for, and it's what we're going to sail faster than the boys for!
Team SCA begins sailing around the world in the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race, a 39,750 nautical mile ocean race reaching 10 countries over the next nine months. On the boat we are sailing with 12 women, including one onboard reporter (that's me), but our sailing team is made up of 14 women - all incredibly strong and intelligent on the art of sailing offshore.