My emotions have been running high after having to gear up for the original start date, then down for the delay, then back up for the start yesterday. It began what has been the oddest combination of variables for the start of a leg that I can remember. I have been very emotional compared to the start in France. I am apprehensive about going back down to the big noise in the south and I miss my wife, Meaghan, and my children very much… which has led to a bit of an emotional funk.
It didn't help at all when Tate, Wyatt and I all had to wish each other Merry Christmas on the dock as I left on December 16th! It is one thing to wish Meaghan as a grown up Merry Christmas; but missing the kid’s Christmas is making tears well in my eyes even as I write this.
So we were finally able to escape South Africa in a weather window that wasn't guaranteed carnage, yet it was still South Africa. Talk about “Full Noise or No Noise,” our team’s motto! The fleet starts in light fluky up and down breeze in Table Bay and by the time we get ten miles offshore, BAM, the forecast shows 15 knots of wind on the nose and is blowing 30+ knots instead. This lends more justification for holding the race start off when they were forecasting 40+.
Then it goes light! Very light. And now Derek, Gutek and myself are all drifting along in sight of each other coxing what we can out of 2-6 knots of breeze for the last 18 hours or so. This too is very odd. The Aghulas Current is a warm water current that wraps around Africa and really makes the entrance to the Southern Ocean a warm paradise for sea life. I have only seen this place sailing at full speed like most people; but wow is it different when you’re going 3 knots. I have had yellowtail swimming in the shadow of the boat, weird eddies of swirling debris, jelly fish everywhere, flying fish and 23 degree Celsius water temps.
Is this the calm before the storm? All the above is happening while I struggle to work my way south to the frozen sea scape of the Southern Ocean which is only a mere couple hundred miles from here. Like I said… weird! Hopefully all of this is a good omen that will deliver a good Christmas experience and the South will allow our fleet safe passage!
Regards and Happy Holidays to all,