20/01/2015 05:51 GMT | Updated 18/03/2015 05:59 GMT

The Life of Pi


Annie Lush loves to play the piano. So, in theory, it's no surprise that she loves to sail. If you think about it (with perhaps your imagination hat on) sailing is a bit like playing the piano.

You have your keys (the sailors) and the chords (the sheets, sails, lines, the hardware). You also have the structure of the piano, which in this comparison would be the boat itself. If everything is in sync, the piano plays beautifully. Out of tune, and the piano doesn't sound as amazing as it could--even if Chopin is sitting at the keys.

We've been fine tuning our piano for the last ten days and Annie could not be happier. She explained that we are solving performance problems unlike we've been able to in the past.

Out here, performance is measured in two ways: against the fleet and then in a percentage. The two work hand in hand--you can't do better against the fleet without the percentage numbers.

We used to deal with lower numbers, getting more and more frustrated with the inability to reach our 100%+. Now, we know we can get certain numbers on certain points of sail and this gives us that extra bit of reassurance to know we can work through difficult times, Annie explained as the sun was rising.

With daybreak we were also presented with more wind. We were able to change sails and we are now going upwind, faster, and in the right direction. Wind is certainly refreshing--and lots of wind, where you're finally getting the chance to 'send it' (emergency brake off, speeding down hill in control), it's a great feeling. When there's wind, it's like Christmas has come early, even if it has only just happened.

Yesterday, as we sat on the rail, salt water spraying and stinging our faces, Dee asked if the two characters in "Life of Pi" were drifting in the Bay of Bengal--in the same waters we were sailing through.


Back and forth we went, until I decided to settle the question and email land. Turns out they were stranded in the Pacific Ocean--thousands of miles from our current location. However, one of the characters was a Bengal Tiger--a type of Tiger whose namesake comes from their traditional location (a location that happens to be close to us).

But we're not just thinking about life on board with a Tiger (something we're very fortunate to not be dealing with), but we're thinking about the adventure that the two characters end up having. Bay of Bengal or Pacific Ocean, all of us from Pi and the Tiger to Dee and Stacey, are on an amazing adventure.

"The Life of Pi" is an adventure story and so is our story. It is about characters who might never have ended up living together normally--'live with a Tiger in a 25ft lifeboat' is not something most people have on their Bucket List. And although all of us on board Team SCA wanted the chance to sail in the

Volvo Ocean Race, just a few years ago it wasn't really possible. Thankfully, with support from friends, family, coaches and our sponsor SCA, we are out here living our very own adventure.


Four years ago, Dee had just set off on the Barcelona World Race, Annie and Sally were training for the Olympics, and Sara was a few months in to her budding sailing career. In the same way that Pi and his Tiger had their own separate stories as to how they ended up on a boat in the Pacific, we each have our own story as to how we got here.

However, there is a common theme that is vital to understanding the similarities to Pi, his Tiger, and us: adventure. So, with adventure in mind, no one on board is too surprised they've ended up sailing past India in the Bay of Bengal racing a Volvo65.

The common bond between Pi and the Bengal Tiger becomes learning to survive in the life raft together; for 227 days, together they live through highs and lows. Although we are not struggling to survive out here, the common bond between Team SCA is our need to perform well within the race--the need to fight through the lows and ride the highs.

So as we sail together across the largest Bay in the world, it is very apparent that no sea is too big to cross and no mountain is too tall to climb--our sense of adventure and our communal love for racing are at the heart of our story.