It's been a two year journey and we are finally here.
We have recently arrived in Alicante and are finally gearing up for the biggest race of our lives - the Volvo Ocean Race. Covering approximately 39,000 nautical miles, the race will last for nine months across 10 legs from start to finish and Team SCA is the only all-woman crew competing.
In fact, Team SCA is the first all-female crew to enter the race in more than a decade! And who said sailing was a masculine sport?
With the race featuring the world's best professional sailors, sailing the world's fastest, and most technologically advance offshore racing boats, we've got our work cut out for us. However, with the combined experience of 45 Volvo Ocean Races, 11 Olympic Games, 15 America's Cup campaigns and five other around the world races, we think we can give the boys a run for their money... Don't you?
Known as the toughest ocean race in the world, this isn't quite a leisurely river cruise down the Thames. We operate a four hour shift system - four hours on four hours off. During this 'down-time' we do get the chance to relax, but we have to be prepared for any large manoeuvres that will require the whole crew. This means that the days are endless, sleep is minimal, the work is never ending and we've got to be able to endure all of this for up to 30 days at a time.
Yes, that's right: 30 days without a new selection of clean clothes, clean hair, and a proper shower (our showers are usually during rain showers!).
Fortunately, thanks to the backing of SCA, parent company behind brands including TENA, Bodyform, Velvet, Cushelle and Plenty, we have access to some of the best hygiene products on the market. This is something to be very happy about, especially considering we're surrounded by other sleep-deprived women 24 hours a day. It's magical what a simple sanitary towel can do for team morale.
What's more, as we are so heavily reliant on each other being fit and healthy, if any one of us falls sick we are at risk of not being able to perform to our maximum ability, making hygiene all the more important. Everyone pulls their weight. There's certainly no room for pulling sickies when you're in the middle of the ocean half way round the world with nothing but a freeze dried pasta bolognaise to perk you up!
With each dawn, we move ever closer to 11 October; the official start of the race. It's almost as if we're on this conveyor belt, and because everything is so exciting and new, you want the belt to move slowly so you can capture every moment. But, no matter how slowly you move, you are inevitably going to reach your destination.
We've almost reached our destination and, considering it's been a two-year journey for all of us, it's strange to think that the 'main event' is just on the horizon. It's surreal to say the least.
Eleven women, one boat = one epic challenge. And we can't wait to get on that start line.