We have arrived: exhausted, broken, alive, and relieved.
After twenty two days at sea, Team SCA finally arrived in Itajai, Brazil. An emotionally overwhelming moment mixed with relief, excitement, and a tinge of sadness.
Annie hit the dock and appeared to be in shock that she did it. Unsure whether to cry or jump for joy, Sara appeared stunned, and Stacey shouted above the fan-fare: "We are super happy that we are here, and if I don't rush back to the Southern Ocean don't hold it against me!"
Leg five was done. The hardest part was over. The journey was physically and emotionally painful. The leg was far from easy-- especially when we were sailing a completely different race than the boats ahead of us.
As we were washed off the back, we felt forgotten by Mother Nature, however we were not forgotten by the rest of the fleet and certainly not by our fans. One of the other team navigators, when reporting their position reports, made sure to tell their team about our situation-- 'Team SCA would progressively get hit with heavier and heavier weather: 30, 40, 50 knots, the leg would be far from easy for us and we would continue to lose miles.'
The other navigator would shake his head and the rest of the team would fall into silence; thankful for not being in our situation, as well as disheartened as they know how much we want to fight. We are all racing around the world, we are all competitive, we are all wanting to beat the other boats, but it's like the other teams are our brothers--and at the end of the day, we are all in this together.
Upon arrival, a few members of Team Alvimedica and Team Brunel were there to welcome Team SCA into the Brazilian port of Itajai. There are some moments in life where no words are needed, and after this leg, a hug, a high five, or even a silent head nod from a fellow sailor has said everything. There was an overwhelming sense of respect on the dock from sailors, shore crew, and fans, which made our internal struggle feel all the more worthwhile.
The boat is broken but it can be fixed-- the shore crew is hard at work piecing back everything together. The crew is exhausted but that can be fixed as well-- Sam slept nearly twenty hours upon arriving! What's important is we sailed into Itajai; yes, two days behind the first four boats, however we sailed here and there's another boat that did not. Yes, the girls are frustrated, but this is not the time to beat ourselves up over where things went wrong and why.
We are a strong team and have proved that the problems we had this leg were nearly out of our control and we cannot nit-pick over our failures-- we must celebrate our accomplishment. We are still fighting, and in a week's time we will hit the 're-set' button and set off hungry to race to Newport.
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