We're in the final countdown. It's a strange sensation. We've sailed over 7,000 nautical miles from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. My inner sailor is in shock; my inner non-sailor is in shock too-that's a lot of miles! It's hard to believe that 27 days has passed. That was one fast month.
As expected, the tough memories are disappearing and it's the positive memories that are outstanding. Even then, there were no 'bad times'-there was just reality and sometimes reality stung and was quite harsh. Other times, reality was pretty amazing; even if it wasn't a positive position report, then it was stunning weather, or an Albatross, or simply a good joke told by a good friend.
I've realized that out here life is no different than life on land. Okay so that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But, rather, life out here is what life is about should be about on land.
Offshore, you have to deal with the reality you're handed, and you can decide to be brought down by it or you can rise to the situation and make the most of it. Offshore, you're not consumed by mobile devices and you have to speak to the people you're around-good friends become better friends and new friends become good friends. 'Patience' becomes nearly as vital as water and food.
Nonetheless, there are some parts about land that racing offshore can just not provide. For example, a hot shower, a working toilet, fresh fruit, toothpaste, family hugs, ice cream, pancakes, a good run, and good coffee.
On Wednesday, I was sat speaking to Abby about the final 48 hours of leg one. She's right when she said that these 48 hours always seem like the longest. You just want that time to go, you just want to be there. There's a light at the end of the tunnel-it's touchable just not quite grab-able. We just want to get there now and enjoy Cape Town.
The last 24 hours will certainly be the most nail-biting hours as well. We have come back with a serious vengeance... clawing our way back from hundreds of miles, making sure we are working the boat 110% (literally) so that these final miles can really count. For days we were alone, just racing ourselves, but making sure that we were performing well so we might just have the opportunity to redeem our misfortunes last week. Well, fingers and toes crossed, we might actually have the opportunity to not let this leg slip by without a final fight with the Team MAPFRE and Team Alvimedica.
For us, the race is bigger than the women on this boat. For one, there are the two, incredibly vital, race crew members, Dee Caffari and Elodie Mettraux, who took the drier, cleaner, and saner route to Cape Town. Then there is also our shore team-the extremely important members of this team who support us, guide us, and teach us about how to race the Volvo Ocean Race successfully. Finally, there is our sponsor SCA, who is helping us to spread a positive message to women all over the world. Not only in terms of sustainability and hygiene, but female empowerment.
That's the unique thing about Team SCA: we're a big team, all fighting together. It's a unique project that has us all intrigued about how far it can go off the water. What if we can change the world through sailing? What if we can make a global impact through our jobs and our passions? Despite the fact that the final hours are easily becoming the longest of the leg, they are, hands down, becoming the most important part.
The final hours are about not giving up. The final hours are about fighting. Fighting not just on the water against other boats, but fighting for a team we believe in, fighting for a global impact, and fighting to inspire other women. We are fighting for something bigger than our individual selves.
And it's this fighting and this believing in something bigger than ourselves that is a gravely important part of life that does not exist just offshore.
"Thank you for fighting-keep fighting." Mangus Olsson.