It all seems like such a long time ago but last weekend, Phil and I finally went down to see old friends at the Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth and to receive our prize for winning the Two handed Round Britain and Ireland yacht race earlier this year.
What a great night.
A reunion, a celebration of short handed offshore racing, a meeting of adventurers and a lot of a party. Laughing, smiling, swapping stories, making plans for the next great race or adventure; a chance to acknowledge talent and strength of character and determination.
For me the trophy is less important – I will always be able to say that in 2010 Phil and I won this race overall. I will always have the memory of the effort we put in, the hard work and determination that was rewarded at every stopover as we pulled further ahead of the fleet, the painful moments when we thought we would lose it all as the wind died and our competitors hunted us down; the final feeling of crossing the line and knowing this achievement could never be taken away from us. You cannot embody this in a cup or trophy other than our names will be engraved in a place they will stay as long as the race does.
Looking to what I have achieved over the last years and what I hope to do in the future one thing is entirely clear. These opportunities to race and to meet a challenge are only possible with the passion and commitment of a group of people who want to make it all possible.
Phil said on one occasion when we were complaining about something the committee had said or done, ‘don’t knock them – it takes a certain type of person to organise an event like this and they are here working for us now.’
This has been my second legendary event with the Royal Western and I owe them a huge thank you for being so passionate about short handed ocean racing, for wanting to keep these classic events alive and providing us with the chance to live our dreams, indulge in our crazy passion and race against each other.
How many people would give up their own free time for well over a year, travel massive distances, sift through nit picking emails just to watch us having a good time?
Thank you to you all – you have given me the opportunity to be myself (and be by myself).