Slow Going & No Voice

4 December, 2016

Keen observers will have noted that everyone and his dog in this race has now ground to a halt as the high we were all looking to skirt round took a quick step to the left (No, my left not your left) and consumed the fleet. We have spent many hours today at a mighty 1 knot, whistled and hooted as breakneck speeds of 2 and 3 knots came and went and hit a new philosophical high as we stepped past that all too human reaction to adversity- to believe its the end of the world and nothing will ever go right ever again.
So many times in a career of 20 years in sail training and being a professional skipper I have had to smile when this characteristic is revealed by this strange life at sea- take for example our present situation- within only a few hours of runing into the high some of the crew started (gently) fretting about flights out of Grenada and whether they would even make it home for Christmas – simply because the chart plotter started spitting out numbers like 1000hrs(40 days?)to Grenada. Its easy to forget as a more experienced sailor and perhaps a more experienced human being that we all have to learn at some point the lesson of not being unduly reactive to changing circumstances-that to avoid unnecessary stress in life we need to take a long term view of Triumph and Disaster ‘and treat those two impostors just the same’. Sure there is no wind right now- but relax it will come- it always does and then things will work themselves out as they always do. Its all very Zen and I think we can take from this discussion that yes, sailing is like life – it’s easy to be philosophical when you are sharing your misery with others.

Meanwhile in other news, I have lost my voice- I mean this literally not figuratively. People are still listening to what I have to say BUT they just have to strain very hard to do so. There has been a sore throat going round the boat since we left Lanzarote and now finally it is my turn. I am realizing though that far from being a problem it may actually be a genius stroke on my behalf. Welcome to Skippering 105 ‘the skipper may be onto something so listen in.’ I have discovered that having no voice means I have a second chance every time I give a command to think ‘is that right – or did I just tell the wrong person to do the wrong thing at the wrong time?’. which means I now have the chance to rescind every command I give when people look at me with incredulity simply by shaking my head and indicating with various hand gestures that it is in fact the listener who has made the mistake. This gives me all important moments work out what I meant to say and whisper that instead.
I am thinking I will make this part of my command style from now on…. just now I remonstrated with a helm over his poor course holding abilities by simply doing a wiggly fish motion with my hand- ha! what more did I need to say? One day in the future that helmsman will will say of me that I was firm but fair; no one will ever complain about my tone of voice again. Genius.
All good on Challenger. CSM