I guess I am late in writing my obligatory- “holy crap it is wet and wild out here” blog.
Well, first off it is windy and water is pummeling anyone on deck. Average speeds in the 23 knot range means high speeds in the upper 30′s which we have had. Will have to go back to the log to see if we have had any 40′s to date but I can tell you that things are moving along at a pretty good clip…
Many things have been interesting over the last few days. We have sailed il mostro in some pretty breezy conditions pre-race but none at this fanatic pace. To be sure this is an inherent problem of a one boat program – protecting the assets. I always felt reluctant to press the boat 1000 percent in the pre-race practice because if something really bad were to happen to this boat essentially the race was over before it even started. Not a very good scenario. Plus there is the racing vs. practicing mentality. You can “think” you are pushing a boat hard when you practice but the fact of the matter it is that with a competitor next to you on in the same water you push much, much harder than in practice. It is a fact of life.
This all leads back to where our program is at and something I have said earlier in this leg. We are learning. How hard is hard enough to push? How hard is too hard? Fact is the guys on E4 have schooled us all in these conditions and my guess is they knew where there boundaries were better than we did. We are finding them slowly, and a lot of it is getting used to the crashes and smashes that happen all around you 24 hours a day inside this base drum called a carbon fiber boat. It’s funny, as this leg has gone on the sleeping or even the concentrating was often interrupted by being acutely aware of new noises, loud bangs, creaks and groans. Not to mention the occasional silence, followed by the tremendous CRASH of a hull falling into a wave trough out of thin air. The first thought – “Are we pushing too hard and maybe risking the boat?” Turns out, probably not hard enough.
The human psyche is a strange lot. As I said, three days ago concentrating was tough as we sunk into this low pressure system and knew it was going to be a reasonably long and fast and furious ride. No lie there. But now things are different. Three days ago what I cringed about is now what I crave. I find that I can’t sleep now if the boat ISN’T smashing off waves or humming only as this boat hums when the boat speed goes past 30 because all those noises aren’t noises of possible problems any more. They are the noises of FAST. And to win this race will mean we have to get faster.
The Monster will find a way.