Indomitable Spirit – #LungiSails

 

#LungiSails

I’ve always been quite an odd child with an innate sense of wonder. I still stop and pause when I see a bird fly above me; yes I sometimes envy how they flap their wings against the wind. They do it with so much ease and confidence.

I light up when I see a butterfly and chase it while chatting to it for a minute before remembering that somebody might call the mental institution on me *laughs*. I greet and talk to fishes when sailing, I’ve had photo shoots with unknowing seagulls by at anchorage telling them to strut their stuff.

Over the past 8 months, I’ve done things that I never even dreamed I would last year this time. Truth is I’m just as surprised at my decisions, thoughts and dreams as the next person. Usually something would spark an idea in my head followed by a mental “yes” and it’s done.

Deciding to sail was by far the bravest and the best decision I’ve ever made, it even beats buying a house lol. As I’ve said in my earlier posts, it showed a side of me that I didn’t know existed.

At the beginning, the plan to live the dream was simple…learn to sail, get to know my new fraternity, find a crew, sail, sail and sail. So I found SSB in Bretagne to learn, applied for the VOR OBR position as starting point to use my media skills whilst getting to know my new fraternity and perfecting my sailing art. I worked at it every single day and I’m still at it.

I always knew that there would be challenges; rejections and that didn’t phase me. If anything, it made me more determined. It was all okay until the OBR dream fell into a million pieces and by pieces, that rejection ripped me apart.  I realise now as I write this that I wanted it with all my might, it would’ve been the perfect meeting of two worlds (sailing and photography).

I had a series of breakdowns over a month; it took me a while to even tell people closest to me. I felt like such a failure….the odd and most profound thing was that amidst all the emotions, I would open my sailing theory books and study.

After a couple of weeks, it eventually became evident to me that even though the OBR dream may have not materialised, there was always a deeper yearning beyond VOR. It took me a while to remember that but I’m glad it happened when it did because it saved me from negative thoughts which were not helping at all.

I watched a lot of motivational clips during that time, Inky Johnson’s talk helped make sense of why I was waking up every other day and continued to study and cry later that same day. His father said these words to him whilst helping him train towards his NFL dream.

“Son, I want you to pull that other person outside of you. No matter how hard you work, there is somebody inside of you that works even harder. No matter how committed you are, there is somebody on the inside of that is more committed. You think commitment is “Yes, I’ll do it”. But commitment is staying true to what you said you would do long after the mood you have said it in has left meaning on the days when you don’t feel like it, you get up and do it anyway. That’s what builds character.”

That other person on the inside of me carried me…

I continue learning, the dream is still as vivid as before I took my first step towards it. On days like today, I’m reminded that I’m born from a family of warriors, that blood runs in my veins. I need to remember that in times of weakness 🙂

My heart is open to all lessons and wins…eternally gratefully to have these moments.

To my family and friends, thank you.

Approx 10 days to the #VG2016 finish line

 

63 days ago 29 skippers set sail and embarked on the 8th edition of Vendee Globe non-stop solo round the world without assistance and the first boat/s are expected to arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne in 10 days. If we see this first boat by the 18th, they would’ve set a new record of 74 days compared to Francois Gabart’s 78 days in 2013.

Only 71 sailors out of 138 have crossed the finished since the start of Vendee Globe. 64 days into the 8th edition, 18 out of 29 sailors are still competing.

This edition has  quite a number of VG veterans but it was great to see newcomers like Morgan Lagraviere -SAFRAN. I remember seeing him weep at departure and some people thought he wouldn’t get very far due to being too emotional that early, I think he did very well despite the damage on his boat. I mean he was giving  veterans a run for their money for a while there. His name is still on the leaderboards for the 2nd Best Distance and Speed in 24hrs since the start of the race.

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Morgan Lagraviere – SAFRAN Photo by Vendee Globe

While my athlete competitive heart goes out to the skippers who had to dismaster within the last 63 days, sometimes situations are beyond our control and that is probably the worst thing to happen to any athlete but I’m glad there has been no casualties. They deserve a standing ovation for the attempt, VG is not for everyone…only the bravest!

When the race started, Dee Caffari mentioned in her commentary that this edition would ultimately be the battle of the hydrofoil boats. Hydrofoils have dominated the top spots of the race with the current Top 4 right now.

It has been a game of Catch-Me-If-You-Can between the race leaders Armel and Alex, Alex is literally breathing down Armel’s neck and this for me has been the best part of the competition or rather what makes race exciting.

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Alex Thomson – HUGO BOSS #VG2016

Armel seems to have picked up some speed but Alex- the comeback kid is still on his tail at 88.63nm and that is nothing to Alex even for an amateur like me. Alex is beasting, he is out for blood and understandably so. This is 4th appearance in the race with a 3rd place in 2013. Whereas this is the 3rd attempt by Armel, he unlike Alex finished 2nd in his last two Vendee Globes.

I think the most exciting part of any competition/race is when a game/race can go either way especially the last day/minute…and something tells me that we’ll see that next week. I don’t Armel and Alex will be sleeping much, if at all for the next couple of days.

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Armel Le Cléac’h – Banque Populaire VIII #VG2016

Whatever happens, it has been a thrilling lesson for me to follow #VG2016. It is actually the first sailing competition I have followed from beginning to end. I learnt a lot, I have been glued to the tracker, newsfeeds since the beginning.

 

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