The Atlantic Race

Here I am in my hotel room, a tiny bit of luxury before we head off to Rio tomorrow morning.

Our boat, affectionately referred to as Heidi, is ready. We are ready. It is less than 24 hours until we will cross the start line. The mayor of Brest visited our boat today, along with Sir Robin Knox- Johnston, who actually just pops up quite frequently with an encouraging word for crews.

We have worked our socks off over the last six weeks getting this girl fit for an ocean race and the night before all seems rather surreal. As a crew we had a quiet dinner together in a local pizzeria.

The atmosphere on board is one of excitement, especially when we pulled out of the bag an incredible three hours sailing at the end of the last race. We simply have to, and want to, replicate that level of excellence throughout this race.

We had a briefing this afternoon covering the race start timings and procedure, the kit we have to wear as we are presented once more on stage, this time to a French audience. To the doldrums and all it might bring, the ceremony as we polliwogs (people who have never crossed the equator) become shellbacks…And the delights of three days’ worth of slops being used to baptise you!

race 2 briefingrace start sequenceneptunes blessingthe doldrums

For myself I admit to feeling a little apprehensive and just want to get going whilst at the same time I haven’t a clue what ocean sailing is really going to bring me. We start tomorrow with choppy seas and sailing into the wind, lots of banging and crashing noises when you’re below deck with also the potential for sea sickness. I am wearing a sickness prevention patch already!

And this week a year ago, my Dad died suddenly. With all the unknown ahead, I am missing him like mad and find myself sobbing quietly with that deep pain in the middle of your chest that only those who have lost a loved one can perhaps relate to. And yet I know that as soon as I am on our boat tomorrow, and the call for the mainsail hoist comes, all sadness will evaporate and I will be focused on not just sailing but racing to win.

I am so, so lucky to have friends and family who send me their love as well as a brilliant crew and skipper.

Dad’s Song

2 thoughts on “The Atlantic Race

  1. Clive The Bike Williams

    Just had a lovely weekend with James Thay and Anne doing Ventoux – i failed to summit feeling ill 500 mtrs from the top but enjoyed the post descent beers, the local resto blow out and the very civilized Sunday lunch after some wine tasting and buying. All home safely. Another week of holiday in the sun for us and following your progress south. Hope those patches are working. X c

    Reply
  2. Lesley Roberts

    Hey. Big hug. It’s an emotional time. Fingers crossed you haven’t been seasick. The pleasure of downwind, shorts and t-shirt will make it all worthwhile. x

    Reply

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