We finished the TJV in the morning of the 22nd November, in 9th position overall. We were battling to the end and finish only 1.5 hrs behind 7th position Groupe Setin, and 19 minutes behind 8th placed SNBSM. Right up until we heard SBBSM cross the line we believed we still had a chance of catching them.
It has been a full on epic race, incredibly demanding, never easy and very very long. When we set off we did not imagine it would be four weeks before we set foot on the land again and certainly did not imagine we would be racing within sight of our other competitors so close to the finish.
Before the race as I am new to this fleet the other boats were just names, I did not know the skippers and had no idea how the course would play out. Over the last three weeks of the race our group of four boats have got to know each other intimately on the water, we have been watching each other’s every moves, speaking often about what the others may be doing, the boats have developed their own personas but still the skippers remained faceless.
When we arrived on the dock the first people to shake our hands and welcome us were the skippers from Groupe Setin and SNBSM, it was a great moment for me to meet these guys for the first time having been locked into competition with them for so long. Later the Brazilian skippers from Zetra joined us and all three teams had the same thing to say – ‘you were pushing us really hard, we sailed faster because of you’ – it seems no one wants to be beaten by the girls.
I am of course gutted that having been ahead for so long we ended up coming in 9th place but our competitors were worthy; we sailed as hard as we could, overcame what problems we had and at the end of the day lost out by what is a tiny margin over such a large distance. Our competitors did not try and less hard than us, they deserved their positions and it has been an absolute honour to have raced against such great, dedicated sailors.
Last night we had our post race party and a chance to catch up with all of the other teams (bar two which have already left) we sat in a bar on the beach, swapped stories, made plans and promises about what and where we would be next and generally revelled in our achievements.
Phillippa and I came into this race with in reality very little time on the water together. We both have a lot of different experience behind us which has held us in good stead. As the race has gone on we have started to perform better and better as a team, we have pushed harder, sailed faster and made the most of every minute spent out there; at no time has either one of us let the other down, we have learned when to and how to support each other in the best way and always with the end goal of how can we make this boat go faster. For me, gender is not relevant to what we have achieved – we can both come out of this race with our heads held up as sailors exactly the same as our other competitors.
A massive thank you to Tony Lawson and Team Concise for the opportunity, support and belief in our ability to compete in this race; Team Concise continues to offer great opportunities to young up and coming British sailors and is a wonderful platform in developing our offshore talent of the future. But most of all thank you to Phillippa for choosing to sail with me as her co-skipper and for taking on the Atlantic and all that it has thrown at us with equal determination and passion to do well.