the end part 2

And so we have it, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2013-14 is over.

The journey up the Thames will forever last in my memory, it was incredible.

The joy of family and friends and crew seeing each other from the spectator boats.  Who is it?  Can you see them?  Oh wow!  There they are!

I thought that I would be really tearful and overwhelmed, but not so.  I was ready for the finish. I’d had a great time, for the most part.  I’d shed more tears in the last eleven months than probably in the last eleven years, especially so whilst in Den Helder.

So I was empty of tears and full of joy, elation, and thanks.  Thanks to wonderful family and friends.  Love and pride demonstrated like never before.  I knew for sure that I was cared about in a way that I’d never dreamed of.  I’d achieved something that few would even consider, let alone do.  Thanks to the amazing meeting of Lesley Roberts and Sue Knight in Kerala in 2011 I’d achieved something amazing.

And returning up the Thames could well have been a Canaletto piece or a scene from a 1690 pageant – no tall ships but still, twelve amazing racing yachts built more like Land Rovers than Ferrari type Volvo racers that had safely housed hundreds of amateur sailors.  We’d pushed them, challenged them, abused them and they’d still done a sterling job.

Coming up to Tower Bridge marked the end of the journey.  A spectacular journey it was.

Seeing Swiss flags and former crew was warming and hunting for family faces intense.  There they were, first Katherine, then William, and then, framed in the sunlight, Mum, with tears gently rolling down her cheeks, and Jean with a huge smile of her face.  And finally James, who had supported me around the world in port, from home.  You name it, he’d been there for me.  And Jean and mum and Lesley had sent cards with wise words; love and luck; fun and “special packages” to nearly all the stop overs.  I am a lucky woman.

Hands on the stern mooring line I concentrate.  Don’t want to muck up now, in front of thousands!  We don’t.  We’re moored.  Cameras clicking, crowds shouting, clapping, laughing.  The noise of relief, joy, excitement is overwhelming.  Yet still I am speechless.  I must be grinning like a mad woman.  I am so happy.

And then…the ’til now hidden bottles of fizz are revealed and we all tuck in – in our trusty plastic mugs (!) to varieties of fizz.

Team Switzerland is fifth out of twelve boats in the clipper round the world yacht race.  Our goal had always been to finish in the top half of the fleet, to end the race with smiles on our faces and we’d done that.  We had always done our best, everyone giving of themselves all that was possible at any given time.  When that came together, and the team did every bit of their best at the same time, it worked wonders and we earned podium positions.

Now was time to celebrate and enjoy the feeling of being superstars for the afternoon.  Seeing ourselves on the big screen was fun and our heads spun.  We’d all made great friends, experienced things way beyond our comfort zones of eleven months ago, laughed, cried, teased, baked, cleaned, sailed our socks off and lived like we’d never lived before.

The end!

And…………

The start of a new beginning!

life continues as normal for some

life continues as normal for some

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