Prior to the start of Leg 7 the only delivery any of us onboard Mālama were having to consider was the one leaving Genoa on July 3rd, but now – here we are – motor sailing our way past France in hot pursuit of the rest of the fleet with an arrival in Italy still uncertain. It has been a wild and whacky week for the team, and one we are all still processing in our own ways. The shore team was given a monumental challenge, a task they quickly rose to – and well beyond – and we are lucky to be where we are now. If we can get to Genoa by the in-port race on July 1st we can rejoin the competition, hopefully to go and win the series which we currently lead. If we cannot guarantee our arrival by then, we would miss that race and also the final race awards ceremony that night.
After three-plus years of working towards the finish it feels completely bizarre to be delivering this boat to the finish, but as they say in France: C’est la vie. We have been really good at focusing on the positives, most importantly: this being our last time onboard, offshore, together. There’s a lot to reflect on from the last six months of racing, and even more in the context of the campaign as a whole. Nothing changes there. What we have been able to achieve, regardless of the end result, as a group and as a team both on and off the water is nothing short of spectacular, and these are our final days and final nights onboard to appreciate that. We’re lucky to have this opportunity.
That said, we are at the mercy of the wind gods. Si Fi is constantly downloading new weather and running the routes. We are watching our ETA like a hawk, and it’s hovering on the 30th. There is no margin for delay. But this means we at some point have to decide whether we roll the dice and enter the Med, where the wind gets predictably fickle and our options get more limited, or whether we accept that being late and missing the grand finale isn’t really an option. The latter would have us park the boat and get to Genoa another, faster, way.
That’s it really. While the fleet race each other we race the calendar. In some ways it’s helping distract us, and in other ways it’s helping keep us competitive. Nobody has lost the urge to push the boat hard. In the interim though, we are prioritizing good company and enjoying the last onboard memories of this incredible adventure that is soon coming to an end!
By Amory Ross