After 3300Nm we finally have Grenada in sight and the crew are elated. Whilst this has been a race and we have not won(!) the scale of the challenge we have completed is not lost on us and as a sail training vessel we are exceptionally proud of what we have accomplished.
People with wildly differing skill levels have come together from all over the world and in just two weeks learned how to operate a boat that 20 years ago was at the cutting edge of performance. Have we reached that edge ourselves? Absolutely not- but the sense of safety this boat inherently generates in the crew when we consider for a second the gulf between what we have been asking it to do and what it is capable of leaves me again happy that Spartan uses just the right boats to share this ocean racing experience with its clients. Looking forward to 2017 we have an excellent plan to negate also the little grey cloud that settles on our ego’s when we consider that we are a few days behind our class competition. I’m happy to announce that next year we will bring three more boats on line and due to the collaborative creation of the ‘Ocean Class’in 2016, next year many more boats of exactly this type will be returning to the race course after years in the wilderness to rebuild interest and opportunities to sail serious offshore races whatever your skill level. For the RORC Transatlantic Race 2017 we hope to return with up to 8 boats all Volvo 60’s and IMOCA 60’s all with charter crews on board and all sailing within an agreed set of class guidelines that finally allow these boats to once again compete on a level playing field. Exciting? You bet your ass it is. Watch this space. www.spartanoceanracing.com
For now, the crew are having their last breakfast on board, bags have been packed over night, the boat is impeccably clean and all eyes are on the horizon and the rapidly growing vision of Grenada. Many people over the centuries have completed this crossing before us- a number have arrived before us in the past few days and yet this does not in any way take away from the awesome challenge we have completed personally- Hell’s Teeth we have crossed the Atlantic!, we have learned how to be the crew of an ocean going yacht pushing as hard as we could within the bounds of the new skills we have developed and we are proud, we are elated and boy are we looking forward to the ice cold beers the RORC race office even now are loading up into a cart to bring down to the dock for us.
My very great thanks to my wife Kathie back home in Nova Scotia who has provided not only logistical support for the last 3000Nm but also the 5500Nm that preceded this as Challenger made her way to the RORC start line from Canada to the Uk, to France and finally to Lanzarote. My thanks also to Keith Davidson, Daniel Degenais Gaw and Diane Reid my pro crew who have made the last 8500Nm not only possible but fun and safe. They will be going to their own new Spartan steeds in the coming year and I wish them great luck. Finally my thanks to RORC who have once again put on a fantastic race and given us a bucket list experience everyone here will remember for a lifetime.
All good on Challenger. CSM