There are many aspects to this race. It’s a high level grand prix and associated with that,goes the stress and demand of competition. Due to the length and physical demands of the event, and each leg within it, human personalities cycle up and down , randomly and often. Being able to keep a grip on these cycles is a helpful thing, over the many months mingled with multicultural crews and destinations….smooth out the peaks and fill in the valleys!!
Emotive adjustments come in many shades and reasons,and defy logic sometimes.
You are out here busting your chops, absolutely smoking along, everything hunky dory, and the boat alight, nobody could be sailing better, you’re in a solid groove and the numbers are sensational, yet, the sched comes through and you lost 10 miles to boat X and 12 miles to boat Y . How the hell could that be? How could they be going THAT much better……VALLEY downer. Conversely, you are tripping over everything, having a shocka in shift management, and just hopelessly missing sail selection, you’ve torn sails, broken the pole, filled your boots with water, and everthing is a mess, YET you manage to put 2 miles on the whole fleet… Blimey, what are THEY doing??…COOL, lift.
The build up and start of this race is a huge pump session, everybody believes they are looking good to win, all are fired up. What happens next is somebody sets the pace, and all the others have to knuckle down, gather strength and focus to get past the leader. In THIS event, you have to maintain this focus and belief for 9 mths.Its a long time. The leader has to bear the stress of being in front with an enormous amount to lose for this time, which is stresssssss-ful.
Normal sport lasts an hour or 2, maybe a day or 2. In this race each match is many weeks, where you sometimes have to suck up pride and pain for extended periods far longer than a normal sport.
On the Black Pearl we are already coping with larger than normal moral testing issues this early in the race, which have required large amounts of physical and mental attention.Add to this lives can be at stake, even your own,as you put it blindly in someone elses hands, and they in turn accept this responsibiliity.
Across the fleet we can see a few of our brothers are doing the same. All sorts of technical and human challenges have appeared and we feel their pain.
Its testing stuff and by no means easy sometimes, to keep applying pressure to one-self, to keep driving pressure toward the leader. However, there are glorious moments too, which are hugely rewarding. Big days on the race course, doing BIG miles are very stimulating, exciting, and a physical blowout. Confidence booster in the boat and crew. Slow days on the race course are frustrating beyond belief, no matter how much you gain. Sailing in circles drives you nuts. Different people get out of their bunks different ways each day and for each watch.
The common goal to make the boat go fast is the link in the chemistry. Cold weather, blinding spray, soggy clothes, mundane food and lack of sleep are a few of the things which conspire to make it tough duty. Exciting sailing, challenging competition,special wildlife,spectacular scenery,and fabulous sunsets make it worthwhile.
Smooth out the peaks. Enjoy the high moments and consolidate them but don’t spin out on elation. Fill in the valleys. Accept the hardships, but don’t crash in despair, make rational plans to improve. Get the eye of the tiger back, dig in hard.
Getting close to the finish induces a happy high on board, but we are also faced with a busy stop to get the boat back online 100% for the next tough leg, and make sure she is ready to take on the battle. Every day and mile has been an important calibration and learning for us, which we intend to put to good use. We look forward to it. Some of the boats might squeak in ahead of us this leg, well I just hope they leave a coupla pies in the oven and a coupla coldies in the eski. That will make this pirate happy.
Under 1000 to the finish, but the wind just crapped completely out after a good day of reaching in 15-20. Another test…??!! Right-e-o lets get on with it!
The Black Pearl