Land Ahoy!

We’re on the 6am ’til noon watch on day we arrive into Ireland.  Richard who’s from County Derry is on the helm.  It’s a quiet start to the watch, we’re under engine with the mainsail and just going through all the jobs we can finish which will mean we don’t have them to do when we arrive.  Halyards checked, staysail checked, winches cleaned, bilges scrubbed.

Out of the quiet come the words, “land Ahoy”.  Richard has spotted his home country.  It’s quite an emotional time. The first time since leaving London and France in September that we’ve seen European soil.  We’ve just crossed the North Atlantic – “The Pond”.  And we are so very nearly back where we started last September.

Many of us have been together since August 12th when preparation of the boats was in full swing and the training for our roles on board took place. Bosun, Engineer, Medic, Chief of Staff, Sail repair, we all met, worked hard and figured that we’d all better get along as we’d be together for the next 11 months.

And now, Ireland Ahoy.

Only a few weeks and the race of our lives will be over.  The “adventure of a lifetime” as it’s billed will be “done”.  There are mixed emotions on board.  Excitement; tiredness; joy; impatience; and then losing two crew members.  One because the crossing didn’t meet her sailing expectations and the other, a round the worlder who has decided she has circumnavigated the globe – which she has.  But we will miss her and wish she was with us ‘til the end.  It is right for her and sad for us.  However, supporting someone’s decision whatever its impact on you is important – if it is right for them, then on this occasion, it is right.  Good luck Lindsey and I’ll miss you!

My daughter Katherine is with James in Londonderry and I cannot wait to see her. The last time I saw her in person was on December 26th in Sydney just before we departed on the Sydney Hobart race. I embarrassed her incredibly and just blubbed my heart out when we met (sorry Katherine).  I have missed my children immensely.  I hope that my experience has inspired them to live their dreams and to be liberated rather than caught in others expectations of you and what is “right” in their world.

I’ve heard that in some people’s life rules, I “should” have stayed home until my children had finished their formal education.  I think that their education is more than school and University.  It’s about attitude and determination and focus and being clear about what you want to achieve. There are considerations, however the way I see things is that life is about seeing/creating opportunity and choosing whether or not to go for it. I am so grateful to friends and my wonderful family for the support that they have provided.

So, we came in ninth eventually, which really sucks.  However – we tried our best and in this instance our best just wasn’t good enough.  Unfortunately I don’t think the placing reflects our ability, our determination, our team spirit. That said, it is how one overcomes disappointment that really counts isn’t it? And the Swiss crew as on all the legs are a determined and capable bunch of folk.

Another day, another race.  Wish us luck and a good tide over the top of Scotland or else you’ll see us going backwards at 9 knots!!

See you in Den Helder. x


2 thoughts on “Land Ahoy!

  1. Michael Jon Foft

    Alysoun – YES! you have done it “right” for you and your family in every sense of the word. Your sweet and poignant words to and about your children are a wonderful legacy to bestow upon them – no doubt they always will treasure your comments.

    And now into the “home stretch” – good luck and HAVE FUN on your final leg. And of course a big hello to all the family and friends.

    It is indeed our privilege to know someone who has accomplished this awesome feat. As author Patrick Dennis’ character “Auntie Mame” said “Live Live Live – life is a banquet and most poor SOBs are starving to death!” Well by god my dear, you sure as hell have lived – good for you!

    We thank you – Bill and Michael


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