Friday, January 22, 2010

The Journey Begins

First, let me welcome all of you to what I hope to be an interesting, exciting, and compelling journal of what will be my third lap around the planet in the 2010-2011 Velux 5 Oceans Race. We chose the nickname "Team Lazarus" for our effort, marking my 'rise from the dead' of ocean racing retirement to get back into the mix in the ECO60 Class of this great race.  The full Lazarus website contains all sorts of goodies - great videos, detailed sponsorship proposals, news clippings and press releases - but this is where we'll put the day-to-day story of my journey to the start line in La Rochelle and beyond. So welcome, and thanks for tuning in.  I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I know I will.

Leaving On A Jet Plane
Saying good night last night to the kids was more emotional than I would have expected. 
I couldn’t hide my feelings and concerns from Tate - she picked up on my sadness and became very emotional herself, you just can't fool her for a minute!  5 year-old Wyatt doesn't quite grasp the enormity of the whole 'sailing across the North Atlantic in the dead  of winter' thing so was a bit less emotional. Time really buries the bad stuff - I'd forgotten so many of the feelings that have occurred in the past twenty-four hours, but they're familiar as well - leaving your family for the unknown is just not something that ever disappears from your heart.  Leaving like this is just so different than the days before I loved these creatures so much more than life itself, and I continue to promise myself to be cautious and make dammed sure to stay on the boat...

The whole process of embarking on this next campaign is intended to be an epic journey not just for me and my shore crew, but for the entire family. I want it to be a hugely positive experience for the kids, and the lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes as I loaded Tate into her carpool this morning - well, no matter how exciting, anything can happen and it would be foolish to forget about that whenever any of us put to sea.

Tate was all questions this morning, just as she has been for the past couple of months of living the circus that the startup of a major ocean race campaign like the Velux 5 Oceans is.  But today's questions were different than last week's; they've changed from "Daddy, when can I go to France?" to "Daddy, why can't Jeffrey and the crew bring the boat home without you?"

Life is all about balancing how bad you want it, and great things take great sacrifice.  In some ways I feel alive again for the first time in years, and in others, the desk in a warm office and the associated life-treadmill seems an easy way to to stave off the lump in my throat.

I guess if it was easy, everyone would do it.  And God knows I love it.  And now, I head to an airliner for my reunion with destiny.  The race has already started, and the rest of the world just doesn't know it yet.