July 27 marked a significant milestone in our journey to the start line of the Ocean Globe Race. On that day Outlaw, the former Equity & Law of the Whitbread’s 4th edition was transferred into the owner’s collective of Team Spirit of Adelaide.
Whilst some of my colleagues in the northern hemisphere are about to start the Fastnet race, two thirds of Australia’s population is in Covid lockdown, the Antarctic cold fronts are rolling through as regular as clockwork and I find myself in a reflective mood.
I was ripe for the picking when the Don walked down onto the marina of the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron last August. Little did either of us know where that conversation would lead, but it hit a nerve that has shaped the course of my life many times.
Shakespeare summed it up well in his play Julius Caesar;
There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken on the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their lives is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a sea we are now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.
I first heard these words at high school in Port Lincoln at the same time I was learning to sail in a tricked-up Sabot rebadged a Holdfast Trainer. It was the beginning of a lifetime journey, but never did I imagine those words would resonate so powerfully with the present.
It has been an eventful year filled with real purpose, demanding exceptional commitment and trust which has delivered a camaraderie undiluted by the distance that separates us. Gathering $250,000 together and sending it to people we have never met was a character-building experience. We have been blessed with marine surveyors, maritime lawyers and a vendor who have bought into our dream. They are all sailors, so I shouldn’t be surprised ……………
Building a team spread across the globe, blagging our way into Adventure Class and buying a vintage sailing vessel sight unseen, in a country literally on the other side of the world, is very much about taking the current when it serves. The knack now is not to lose our venture. It’s as though all the things learned over a lifetime are conspiring to carry us forward to the start line a little over two years away.
Of course, there is much left to do. and the inability to travel internationally has added significantly to the complexity of the process. The intricacies of flagging the vessel, dealing with taxes and duties, insurance, and the scoping of the refit by remote control require daily attention. I suppose this is what Don meant when he sagely advised that getting to the start line is the hardest part of the race.
Well, we are on our way and there will be no turning back now!