One of the incredible things about this last week of racing is how quickly the tempo of the race changes day to day. It's not just to do with the weather and the wind, though the contrast Saturday to Saturday could not be more stark.
This time last week I was putting in some relaxed but fast miles south, in T shirt and shorts still in the trades. Today I am ghosting along the top of the ice limit in a southerly breeze that feels like it is coming straight off Antartica. The boat is shrouded in a wet, cold mist, my fingers needed warming up to type, we are working our way gently east, waiting for the next big blow to catch up with us.
I think the changes in tempo are also driven by what the boat and I need on a daily basis to ensure we can succeed and stay in the race. What is the most important thing to us at any given time. While we were blasting along ahead of the front mid week, the most important thing was keeping the pace on, keeping me fed and rested and watching every detail on deck like a hawk to ensure of no problems. My entire focus shrank to the size of the boat, it was all about the details.
Hour to hour in conditions like these I need to religiously check that all the lines in the cockpit are still tucked into their bags as every way tries to pull them out, and they can quickly clog cockpit drains, go over the side and around rudders or around the hydrogen. The environment is challenging, I am constantly wet through, battling to try and retain some dry space to live in down below, some dry space to sleep in. In these circumstances life is small, my focus is tight.
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