Frustration. Frustration and expectation. That’s what the mood is on the boat at the moment. We have crossed our final ocean, have spotted the shores of Ireland, and are currently running North West back out into the Atlantic to do a circuit around Rockall.
Not that there isn’t a moment of pleasure that we will be seeing the furthest most West point in the UK. It’s just that WE SAW IRELAND. And then sailed away from it again. Hence the frustration. The expectation comes from what the plans are for Derry. Hotels have been booked (another frustration – we thought we would now be coming in on 6th July, only to have the weather change and slow us down, so we are now due in on 7th instead). Plans have been discussed for what to do. The pros and cons of Water Zorbing versus Total Wipeout on Water have been weighed. Now we all just want to get there. Food supplies are running low; the carrots have now gone, and butter is in short supply and, horror of horrors, Starboard watch has run out of tuck. Oh Nugget! Even worse – something I didn’t think possible – we are down to our last 2 packets of baby wipes. That equates to around 6 wipes per person until we get to Ireland. I may have taken the victualler’s brief in New York of ‘buy the minimum and use up everything we already have’ a little too far…
At least we have loads of coffee. This is especially useful since many of the RTWs, and Wendo, have hit a wall and are knackered. I think it is simply 10-plus months of high alert catching up on us. Although our heads are still in the game, our bodies have called time and are already half way out of the building.
So here we are, struggling upwind to get around Rockall so we can turn around and follow our trail all the way back to Ireland again. Rockall is a sneaky rock which seems to move away from us at every turn and has the annoying habit of being directly upwind of our position, however much we tack.
At least the extra leg from Rockall to St. Kilda has now been called off. Apparently the Royal Navy is not inclined to stop their live firing exercises in the area so the Clipper fleet can pass by. Thank the gods for that!
Although this is still the ocean crossing part of this race, seeing our destination and then adding this extra circuit makes this little detour feel like an offshore race rather than an ocean race. In my mind I feel as though I have now crossed my final ocean on this circumnavigation. The total is 3 times across the Atlantic, once across the Southern Indian Ocean, once into the Southern Ocean, and twice around or across the Pacific. We have sailed through the Channel, the Solomon Sea, the South China Sea, the Yellow Sea and the Caribbean. Only the North Sea remains, and one more Channel crossing. It’s quite a tally.
And hard to believe that this has actually happened, even though I was there every step of the way!
Guest Blog by Valerie Saint-Pierre
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