It’s currently 21ºC, 998mbar barometric pressure, force 4 outside the back garden in Bristol, UK and I’m hitting the offshore kit packing, again!
It’s been quite a while since the last entry, but preparations haven’t stopped behind the scenes. New positive daily habits are replacing some older, not-so-good ones. For example, how about the new one of hanging upside down on gym rings like a bat in a cave, before pulling a blood-red faced body up? Or, maybe the indecent yoga poses at the crack of dawn which causes my wife to regularly reach for the defibrillator, just in case. All in the name of physical resilience to cope with what is fast approaching… The Southern Ocean and Tasmanian Sea.
Knowing there’s less than 2-weeks until I have to wave farewell to friends and family to head down South to Cape Town and start the 3-month adventure of a lifetime. The anxiety levels are totally maxed out!
Offshore Packing list
Interestingly, a more random habit has developed. That of continually checking and re-checking my packed sailing gear. OCD?
Why? Well, it’s a race. Where every gram of weight aboard has to be dragged through the water for 13,000 nautical miles. Over a 3-month period that can have a big impact on speed and arrival time over the line. So, it’s easy to agonise about what goes in, and what stays behind. Our crew limit is 20kg – yes, that’s right. 20kg!
Have you ever tried offshore kit packing for 3-months below 20kg? It gets really fun. The drysuit alone is 2.5kg (12.5%) and even with days to go, we (the crew) are debating the merits of different cold-weather gloves before going shopping… again!
You can check out one of my latest leg-3 Offshore Packing lists here.
First leg done
Seeing the team WTC 70′ open ocean racing sailboat arrive in Portimao, Portugal was a real eye-opener for both me and my wife, Rachael. It really brought home to me how difficult it is for partners and supporters to see-off the racing crew on their voyage. I was in tears, and I didn’t even have a loved-one on board! Emotions are raw and exposed.
On the flip side, welcoming back the boat into port is infused with intense relief takes, which take emotions to yet another more intimate level.
When watching this from afar, one can argue it is a selfish endeavour (to race) … and maybe it is. Yet, on the other hand, it also shows the selfless side of our partners and family; the hidden sacrifices made in order for the adventure to become a reality in the first place.
As I write to you now, the Clipper racing fleet has arrived in Punta De Este, Uraguay, after 7250nm in just 25-days of mixed conditions. All the crews are frantically preparing the boats for the next leg, to Cape Town, SA.
Here’s a quick sum-up of leg 1 of 8, from Team WTC.
Click here to follow this offshore sailing virgin’s experience on Instagram.