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.
Yesterday our most hectic moment was when we ended up just on the outskirts of a massive rainstorm; from afar it looked as though we were in for it, but the reality was just a few raindrops. This does not mean the mood on board is nothing short of intense--far from it. 24 hours, around the clock, the team works to get the most out of the boat, every .01% of a knot.
However, there is one quote from all the videos that stands true, carnage or no carnage, and it explains why we are out here: "It gets in your blood." There's something about this race, the adrenaline, the sea, the sense of freedom, the concentration, and the intent. The race serves as a personal experience for both the sailors and the world watching. We're all in this together.
Through the highs and the lows, we are together. As we sail behind the fleet, each position report is like a blow to the gut, the kind that sucks your breath, even if you know it's coming. Despite how hard we sail to eke out .01 of a knot from the boat, the rich are getting richer. In brackets of six hours we lose 15, 20, 30 miles to the fleet.
We are 460 nautical miles behind the leaders; in these conditions that's about 2 days behind. We're sixth in a six boat race; before the Vestas situation, we were seventh--always the hunter. It's all about the numbers.
We do not have the experience the other boats have. We have two Volvo Ocean Races between 14 of us. Abu Dhabi has 20; even the so-called 'young guns' on Alvimedica have nine races between the nine crewmembers.
But we cannot forget, that we are together. The team on the boat, on land, in Sweden, in SCA and around the World, we are together. Together we sail through the tricky shifting winds of the Indian Ocean. Together we become frustrated.
Stacey is helping us stay positive and keeps reminding us all that we are continuing to make grounds. We're sailing at 10 knots in the right direction, which is pretty good. Soon enough we get to turn a corner so that spices life up a bit.
Turning the corner is going to be quite exciting to say the least, and perhaps this is why it feels like the days are melting into one day: the anticipation. At the moment, the leaders are getting into lighter and lighter winds, so the fleet is compressing. At the moment, we are in heavier breeze and will be for most of the day. As the fleet compresses, positions will change and it will once again become anyone's game. We won't catch up with Dongfeng, Brunel, and Abu Dhabi but we definitely have the opportunity to give Alvimedica and Mapfre a run for their money.
We just have to stay focused. It's only 4 days until the finish, which in theory is about 16 sleeps for us--which makes it sound a lot worse than it really is. But it makes it feel like the end is near.
Soon, leg 2, an incredibly mentally challenging leg for Team SCA, will be over and put to bed. We will move forward. This is only the beginning. The fat lady has not sung. We've only sailed 10,000 miles of a 40,000 mile race. We still have more than 75% of the planet to sail around. To compare this to Everest, we haven't even arrived at base camp.
Moving forward, we will continue to have bad moments but soon those tough moments will be overshadowed by moments of greatness--moments of achieving what nay-sayers deemed impossible. Like our sponsor, SCA, which develops products that inspire women from all walks of life to meet their goals, we will keep our focus. We are a team of strong, fighting women and we not only owe it to ourselves to keep fighting but we also owe it to everyone who believes in us.
So, together, we all share the excitement, the celebrations, and the frustrations. Together, we let the race and the sea get under our skin and enter our blood. Together, we run towards the raging ocean and the carnage. Together, we sail around the world.