Race 1 - Day 32
Crew Diary - Race 1 Day 32: Liverpool to Punta del Este
21 September

Antonia Hiesgen
Antonia Hiesgen
Team GREAT Britain
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All things come to an end...

Now, with only a few hundred miles away from the finish line and caught in a wind hole, there is actually a bit of time for reflection.

I'd like to thank Ed for his latest and final blog; well done! I don't really have to add anything so I would like to write about what I personally take away from Leg 1.

We all started this adventure as relative strangers. Expectations were high, we have heard many stories from previous races; some good, some great, many funny ones and a few ones about hardship and less good days.

Blood, sweat and tears – we had it all over the past 5 weeks. In between, we had fun days with a lot of laughter, great days of racing and days where things went wrong. Between all these days, there has been a lot of time for reflection, self-awareness and visualisation!

Reflection – The Past

There has been quite a bit of time to reflect on life. I know it sounds silly, but it is what it is. There was time to reflect on what is actually important in life and what should be left behind. Having not looked at my phone once over the first 4 weeks, it almost felt weird to turn it on a few days ago to look at some of my pictures. The things I want in my life after the Clipper Race experience became a lot clearer. They didn't change necessarily, as I always knew what I wanted in life, but they are more established now. Reflecting on the past and then letting it go helps to find your way for the future. The lack of almost any kind of media really helped. Your head was basically free from all the day-to-day crap that your head is filled with normally. While there was time to reflect on your past, the majority of time was spent in the present, with all the things that needed to be done on this boat on a day-to-day basis. Sailing means to have your head in the game at all times to minimise the risk of things going wrong. That brings me to my next point: (Self)awareness.

(Self) Awareness – The Present

Awareness and self-awareness are similar. However, one focuses on the outside and the things around you, whereas the latter focuses on the inside - on yourself.

I start writing about awareness first. Andy continuously stresses the importance of being aware on a boat. You need to be aware of the things around you: the sheets, sails, winches, your crew members, the beam, the weather, the Danger Zone and basically everything else. Especially during gybes, tacks, wind changes and on the helm, awareness is keeping the chance of failure low and a key for success. I believe we all, each crew member, has tried our best to be as aware as possible but naturally, especially when tired, cold, dehydrated or hungry, you may be less concentrated. This is then the time where self-awareness comes into play.

Self-awareness, as already mentioned, focuses on the inside, on yourself. Self-awareness is important when it comes to relationships with others, especially on a confined place with no where to escape and fairly tough living conditions. You need to be aware of how your actions affect others – negatively or positively. Is there anything that you do that irritates someone else? And if so, is it reasonable to stop, or does the issue lie with the other person? Do you let your personal mood affect others? A good example is galley duty, which is a mood breaker. Personally I have seen the worst and the best in people on this trip. I have seen people crack due to sleep deprivation and tiredness. Some people react by getting really quiet and separating themselves from the group. Others just get miserable and start to snap at people for no reason. Again, others just go through it with grace and shed a few tears later on in their bunks.

The past few weeks have really presented me with situations I learned a lot from. I learned a lot about myself, what I can deal with, what makes me angry, scared or happy. We are all shaped by the experiences of our past, so others may not understand why you reacted the way you reacted, but often there is an underlying, subconscious reason. The key to good relationships is communication. Don't be scared, bring it up, but be conscious on how you say things. Some people may see an attempt to solve a problem by talking about it, as a start of another argument.

Visualisation – The Future

Visualisation comes back to reflection, thus point one and what you want for the future. I think the majority of crew have been visualising basic things: a nice comfy bed, a shower, a bath, stepping onto solid soil for the first time after 5 weeks. Visualisation helps to achieve your goals. Make it as clear as possible, as detailed as possible and believe in it. And again, the fact we have had very limited access to media on board, plus a lot of time up on deck without actively doing anything, meant that we spent a lot of time in our imagination.

Thanks to everyone doing Leg 1 and I look forward to Leg 2 after some down time in Punta del Este!