My last sermon


Yes, we had another postponement today and have snuck off back to our shore side beds for another night while the class 40s from the TJV blast their way past us and to the South.


I don’t really want to dwell on the decision, it has been made and we must all live with it.


So once more I am sitting in front of my computer writing a departure blog.


The forecast looks amazing; full on seat of the pants down wind sailing. The conditions will be testing and there will be an element of risk in particular when we pass the wind acceleration zones next to Cape Finisterre.


But please, just let us get on and do it.


Ocean racing and in particular single handed ocean racing is a fascinating cocktail of racing and seamanship; it is about knowing when to push and when to hold back, being able to assess the risks and decide for your own boat and for your own ability at what level you should be pushing the boat to or even in extreme cases whether you should be sailing at all.


It is a real story of the Hare and the Tortoise though in my case the Hare has more than one speed.


When we leave tomorrow no one is going to force us to go out into strong winds – in truth it will be our own decisions whether to start or not -, no one will force us to fly spinnakers or shake out that extra reef in the main. We make those decisions and at times as we can see in the truly great ocean racing sailors there are occasions to hold back and be safe because if you break your boat or drop your mast there is little chance you will be on the podium at the end of the race.


Together with my sponsors I have spent time preparing myself and my boat to compete in this single handed ocean race. I have chosen the best kit I can to ensure performance and safety, I have taken courses; have sailed as much as possible in many conditions, to prepare myself and my boat. This will be my fifth solo trans-Atlantic crossing and if I finish I will have clocked up close to 30,000 single handed miles.


I am not saying I am infallible. There is always an element of risk involved in this sport, but isn’t that why we do it? Isn’t that part of the driving force that makes it exciting for me to be out there pushing and that brings you back again to watch the tracker or read my blogs?


I have considered the risks and taken appropriate actions to reduce them and put in place emergency procedures to cover the worst. I do not accept these risks lightly but I have a duty to myself and all of my sponsors and supporters to finish this race and get to the other side in one piece, smiling and with the best position I can; I do not intend to waste this great privilege that I have.


So after one month of racing and so many false starts and frustrations let’s just go sailing, let’s make our own fortunes and get out there to do what we came for.


See you in the Caribbean


Pip x


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