Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On the Way

After an anxious start morning where I sorely missed the usual send off from my wife Meaghan and the kids, it was finally time to get on with the ocean sprint 4 from Punta del Este to my hometown of Charleston.  The family had a great adventure following the race around the world but with budget, business and school hanging over the 'reality' portion of our world, it was time to pay a little attention to the need for the family to re-enter into a more normal life.  Net result was that Meaghan and I had to process the necessity to be apart for the first time in my 13 year career of solo racing starts.

The weather was picture perfect for a nice send-off and the fleet delivered a textbook start from just a few yards off the jetty on the Punta Del Este waterfront. Big crowds turned out to watch us go under bright blue skies and it was a very special way to leave.  It is wonderful to now have a few days of favorable conditions on the cards while we get in the groove and get some miles towards the north under our belt. The weather is forecast to get very tricky in a couple days time, so some time in good conditions while we readjust to life racing alone at sea is always appreciated.

As I write this in the early morning I am only a few miles from the location where I was violently dismasted in terrible weather while sailing this race in 1999.  It is a nice milestone to be charging along in nice conditions this time as I process the emotions and memories of what was one of the more difficult things I have ever dealt with.

The current running of this leg from Punta to Charleston represents an entirely different set of mental challenges for me. The fact that Charleston is now home and my family and friends are the light at the end of this tunnel is going to make for a leg full of anticipation and a whole new set of incentives for a good performance.  I have told myself over and over to relax , be careful and just sail smart but I wish I had a magic button to make the boat or at least the clock go faster.  I am sure I will settle in as things proceed but for the moment it is hard to forget that Cape Horn is behind me and LP, and that Charleston is the next stop.

The stopover in Punta Del Este was as hospitable as could be and I recommend the beautiful city on the peninsula to anyone who is interested in a fantastic South American adventure.  The people, food and beaches are a really cool mix of city and resort type atmosphere.

All the best from off the coast of Southern Brazil!