I think today was the start of a tense countdown to the start.
It was the deadline for boats to arrive, and after the bad weather of last weekend, a lot of very tired sailors arrived during the night on the hike down from Douarnonez, among them my good friends, the Dutch husband and wife competitors, Ysbrand and Christa; who like the other sailors here, where tired but smiling and so pleased that this journey we have all made has ended here successfully.
The dock was alive all day, people and tools everywhere and I was shocked at how many great people I have got to meet in the last year of racing this little boat and how difficult it is to walk from one end of the port to the other, without pausing to talk with some of them.
Of course the question we are all asking is ‘are you ready?’ and there are varying degrees of panic in the response.
But perhaps more interesting to me is the mental preparation and the reactions people are having to being here.
I have felt quite cool about it until this afternoon when we went to our first briefing, and then suddenly I realised I am participating in a huge international yacht race!
Our schedule was laid out for us; over the next week we will be measured, have our safety material checked, our first aid kit checked, we will have to prove we can launch the life raft in 15 seconds, prove we know how to operate our long range radios, our short range radio’s will be tested; and at the end of it all we will be given a document which we must plasticise which will be our permission to rush head long as fast and as crazy as possible to Brazil.
The briefing was tinged with sadness as our first topic of discussion was the death of fellow competitor Jean-Marc Allaire who passed away on last Monday on his way to join us at the start of the race.
I never met Jean-Marc but he was a long time member of class mini and well respected and well liked, many people are missing him here.
We will be stopping for a minutes silence before the start next Sunday to remember him.
Rest in Peace Jean-Marc.