Day eight out here onboard Malama. Happy to report we are comfortably inside the Mediterranean Sea, just over six months since we left. A lot has transpired since then, obviously, with a circumnavigation already complete; Aarhus is both north and east of Alicante.
To say this has been a strange eight days is a bit of an understatement. It feels a little like the twilight zone onboard, where we are caught between universes! In one, we are racing hard. The goal is to get there as fast as possible for a multitude of reasons. That provides more time to celebrate the end of the race with the rest of the race. More time to prepare for the inport race. More time to be together as a team before going our separate ways on July 2nd. In the other universe, it’s not the worst of ways to spend our last offshore miles together as a group onboard, the same group that started this race in Alicante this January. We have nobody to race against so there is a lack of pressure. The mood is light, casual. Plenty of time to enjoy each others company and have some laughs.
There’s also the weight of the redress hearing on the 29th that more or less decides the fate of the campaign, but we are trying not to think too much about that. To a certain degree it is out of our atmosphere. We are out here to get the boat to Italy and participate in the inport and represent the race and 11th Hour Racing at the Grand Finale. What happens happens and we are trying not to lose sleep over what we can’t control!
Speaking of sleep, it was good to catch up on some last night. We sailed west through Gibraltar during Leg 1, upwind in 30-40kts (but saw 55 just prior) – storm jib in the air. And we just sailed east through Gibraltar in our unofficial Leg 7, upwind in 35-45kts – storm jib in the air. It was full circle, as they say! In total darkness, save only for the bright lights ashore, and a nasty, short sea staye, we executed 13 tacks along the African coast before finally settling in to a long port fetch at sunrise, surrounded by freighters, flat water and an enthusiastic pod of juvenile dolphin. It felt like the summit of this journey. From there, theoretically, it should be downhill all the way to the dock in Genoa.
With just four or five days and 700 miles left onboard, a lot of which will probably be spent upwind and in light air, conditions will be tame… Tame isn’t fast, but it is pleasant. I know I speak for everyone when I say that as the arrival looms near, our focus will inevitably shift to a place of reflection, appreciation and anticipation. Until then though, we’re doing everything we can to go fast and get there as soon as possible. But we’re also doing it comfortably, and with nothing but smiles on our faces 🙂 we’re lucky to be here and we all know it.