Skipper’s log: T -18 hours
We are down to the final list: stow gear; take the stackpack, extra fenders and mooring lines off he boat; find a replacement screwdriver for the one I dropped overboard yesterday; check the race notice board for any changes to the sailing instructions; obtain final race clearance forms from the race committee; and sign Sophie B out of RCYC, destination Rio.
We will slip lines tomorrow at 11:30. I always find it a thrilling, slightly reckless act. I hope I will pause for a moment to watch the gap between the quay and boat slowly widen but I doubt I will. My concentration will be required elsewhere, firstly on guiding Sophie B respectably out of harbour, then preparing her for sea, raising sails, getting clearance from port control and making our way to the start line.
There are just 8 boats starting the race tomorrow, 5 monohulls on our start and 3 catamarans a few minutes later. So while the start line itself should not be too crowded, jostling for position while ducking the spectator boats will certainly keep us busy. If the forecast models we use are correct, there will be too much wind (30kts) for us to fly a spinnaker at the start and the first night.
So it will likely take a day or two before I look out at the horizon, take a deep breath and let the deep peace of being at sea wash over me. But there is time. A sound boat, a fabulous team, and lots of time.
Tom, thanks for getting us to the start line.
Catherine, Rachel, Joseph and Emma I will miss you terribly. Thank you for the book of photos, pictures and poems you made for me. And thank you for the time you have given me to make this possible.