The final week before the start gun for the Vendée Globe is fired, is a busy week. On previous occasions it has been full of skipper’s briefings, weather briefings, and safety briefings. Press conferences and media commitments. Sponsors have lunches and dinners with their invited guests for the big day and the final check of spares, food and clothing is done and then loaded on the boat. The list of fresh food is given to a team member to be responsible for in the last couple of days.
The demand for the sailor’s time increases and all this happens at a time when you are trying to spend quality time with friends and loved ones before you leave. Before you know it, you are eating your final supper ashore and having your final sleep in a bed. Often nerves and excitement get the better of the sailors on those occasions and they look to the start of the race to be able to get into a routine and live a far simpler life with their beloved machine.
Everything is prepared exactly for this moment
Your emotions are all over the place. You are excited to get going as all your preparations have led to this moment. Your team have worked tirelessly to get you to the start line and now it is your turn to go out there and deliver.
I remember being super excited on the morning of the departure. I knew what I was letting myself in for as I had previously spent a lot longer on my own sailing the wrong way around the world. However, for some of these sailors on this edition of the Vendée Globe, this will be the longest they have spent at sea alone. This prospect is a little daunting for some of them.
Before you know it, you are eating your final supper ashore and having your final sleep in a bed.
When I set off, I had sailed through the Southern Ocean twice before in what is considered the wrong direction. My only unknown was the feeling of surfing the waves in the right direction.