Time does a strange thing offshore. Sometimes time flies by--where there are not enough hours in the day - and other days creep by. Some days repeat themselves so much that you could swear you are the living rendition of the blockbuster film, Groundhog Day. It feels as if we have had one week to go until Newport, RI USA for at least two weeks.
Nonetheless, no time goes by slower than the final 1,000 nautical miles. Today, despite the decaying wind, we will dip below the 1,000 milestone on our journey North. We are so close, yet still so far. Looking back, it feels like only yesterday we were the pace boat for the fleet as we sailed along the coast of Brazil--however, my calendar tells me that was well over a week ago.
As with every leg in the Volvo Ocean Race, what matters is the finish. You might be ahead or behind the entire time but it's the final miles and metres that decide the race. We've had decent pressure for most of the journey North, we flew through the Doldrums and actually had more wet days than dry days, which in the sense of speed sailing is fabulous! The more water the better!
Nonetheless, we have had some difficulties along the way. First, there's the seaweed situation that seriously slowed us down for about three days. Then there have been times when we haven't been able to reach the speeds the others can. Naturally this has put a damper on all our days. We're desperately trying to stay positive however it's hard not to feel a little bummed out--we're sick and tired of being in the back!
Our experience here is reminiscent of our sponsor SCA'sTENA Lady brand and its 'Never Be Afraid to Laugh' campaign. This campaign challenges women to have the confidence to throw your head back and laugh - no matter what life throws at you, and this is definitely something we need to do a little more of.
No matter what the Volvo Ocean Race throws at us: whether it's seaweed, poor weather conditions or a bad position report, we need to forget the frustrations and remember the good times - as these are the points in the race that are going to stay with us for years to come.
Our skipper Sam definitely agrees with this mentality and she has now decided that she does not want to hear any negative chat--we must take that energy and put it towards going forward. As we approach the "City by the Sea," Sam's personal circumnavigation for Team SCA will close, and within that lap, it's great to see how far Sam has grown into her leadership role.
She's really pushing hard to make sure we stay positive--for example, standing up for the team's position when someone begins to cast doubt, choosing her words wisely as she delivers a position report, and always ending on a positive note.
Remember this is race is won at the finish line. Currently, the fleet is about to negotiate a cold front, where the wind will become tricky to sail through, and the game will change. Then, it's back to faster sailing and this should allow for us to catch up lost miles. Finally, like any good race, there could be a final 'park up' a hundred miles or so outside the finish line.
So onwards we continue to push--harder and harder towards Newport, with Sam leading the way.
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