I know that you are wondering about the featured image. Well, that is me and you will find out all about it once the internet connection here allows me to get pictures downloaded and the story told. Let’s just call it “The Day of Waves”.
I was directed to a blog that I would like to share by one of the other crew members, Mike Adams on Garmin. It expresses many of the same thoughts that I am feeling currently and I don’t think I could write it any better.
“So this is it. The antepenultimate race of this amazing experience. Third time across the Atlantic, watching the longitude ticking down to Greenwich, and home.
There’s a definite sense, among the worlders at least, of winding down to the race finish. Not that this means we are less diligent or active in keeping ‘Gertie’ (I know…) moving: quite the reverse, in fact.
We’re keen to push hard and make our way past Sneaky Pete and the GREAT Britain crew to third place on the podium, and the crew are giving their all to make it happen, keeping the sails going up, down, in and out with a will.
But I think we’re all ready for this adventure to be finished – or rather, to be completed – and to continue with life outside the Clipper Race bubble.
Occasionally you’ll catch someone quietly gazing out to sea, leaning on a rail or a backstay, trying to imprint the image of the open ocean on their mind, to be able to recall it at an office desk in a year’s time.
The sight of the – currently calm – sea beneath a perfect hemisphere of sky, and the feeling of remoteness that accompanies it, is one of the memories I will treasure.
I can’t say I’ll miss the moments when that sky fills with rain, hail, and filthy black clouds, and the world turns into a giant washing machine; I won’t miss fighting sails on the foredeck or fighting to keep my balance on the helm, hands cramped with cold and eyes full of spray; I won’t miss staggering down the companionway at watch’s end, water streaming off my foulies, only to find that my bunk is wet and at an absurd angle.
But I will miss the elation of a tough job well done, when my whole watch has worked well together to achieve a tricky sail change or recover from a broken line; I’ll miss the purity of steering by a single star on a clear night; I will miss the rush of surfing a forty-tonne boat down five-metre waves; and I’ll miss the joy of making landfall after a long voyage, seeing a new country as it was first seen.
We’re reminded every day how harsh the marine environment is, wearing through ropes, sails and steel; but it also erodes the veneer and polish we each put on our own characters. Being cold and wet and tired rapidly strips you down to your true personality, which can of course result in conflict; but also allows friendships to be built on a far more solid foundation than is sometimes the case in the real world.
And so most of all I’ll miss those friendships, forged in trying conditions and cemented in the pub at the next stopover, and embodied in the image I imprinted on my mind as I helmed through sunset last night: both watches on deck, enjoying a sun-downer and quietly chatting in groups of twos, threes and fours – nurses, engineers, accountants, policemen, teachers; ages spread across four decades; but all one crew – as the sun dipped below the horizon, and we glimpsed the green flash of its light refracted through the surface of our last ocean.
Garmin Crew for 2015-16 Clipper Round the World Race”
Some of his experiences I did not have such as “I won’t miss fighting sails on the foredeck or fighting to keep my balance on the helm, hands cramped with cold and eyes full of spray” as I am really not physically big or strong enough to perform those jobs safely for myself or the crew.
Garmin and GB are currently in a race for 3rd place overall as LMax and Derry are battling it out for 1st. Best wishes to all 4 teams in the next two races and may the best team prevail.
We are currently working hard to move up to 5th overall and if our crew work continues to jell it just might happen.
Questions for YOU to ponder!
1. For band directors, what part of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sea Songs portrays a nice easy rolling wave the best?
2. For everyone, what two lines in the song “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” (yes, think Paul Newman riding the bicycle in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) best describe my feelings at this point? This race from NYC to Derry was very rainy and after singing it to myself for days, I found my lines that fit me perfectly!
There are several other questions for you, but need photos to help you out with them.
Hope to get the race from NYC done before we leave, but looks like I have to first find a good internet connection!
Have a wonderful weekend!