Race 2 - Day 6
Crew Diary - Race 2 Day 6: Punta del Este to Cape Town
10 October

Iain Coke
Iain Coke
Team Visit Seattle
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I seem to have been writing a lot of the Visit Seattle blogs lately. It's not planned, its just that it sometimes works out like that if for whatever reason the day's blogger is not able to write it, I one of our media managers has to step in. Today is actually my own day for writing the blog and I am left scratching my head about what else to write about. So, I thought I would talk about something I don't often talk about on here – sailing.

We tend to write in our blogs about how it feels to be sailing the oceans, what it really means to live under fairly extreme conditions, the events we have witnessed and the wonders of nature that we have spotted. But we probably talk less about the reason many of us signed up for the Clipper Race – the sheer pleasure of sailing.

Sailing this boat is not like floating around on a Hobie Cat on a beach holiday or a gentle cruise to find a nice spot for lunch. Helming her can be brutishly hard work, when the waves are pushing us around, but also huge fun, like a rollercoaster ride when you are travelling at high speed surfing big waves. There are other times when she is beautifully balanced and will take the slightest of inputs from the wheel.

For me, there are times when I can take or leave helming. I've loved sailing since I was young and I've always felt like that. I enjoy other things; setting up the sails well, putting in slick tacks and sail changes, and the feeling of sailing fast being powered by nothing more than the wind.

There are other times when I find helming a sheer joy. Today we had some of those. It's particular points of sail that I find so pleasurable, especially when we are making the best course to windward under light or moderate winds, not so light that we are drifting instead of sailing, but those times when the boat is balanced and you need an especially light touch on the helm, a gentle caress rather than a firm hand, or worse a violent struggle against Mother Nature. This morning was like that. It was as if the boat and I were as one, she responding to my slightest command and together we were building up speed and right on the edge of where we needed to be. It feels like a real test of skill. And a reminder of the pure magic of sailing.