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RORC Madeira-Cowes Race: Mairead’s Blog Friday 6pm

This time last week I had just taken off on the Easyjet flight from Gatwick to Maderia, with team-mate Rachel to join the 8 Puma Team who had completed Leg 1 and were preparing for the return leg. I had worked that morning to complete my hand-over; this was going to be my first time on annual leave I would not be contactable should an urgent query arise. The other “critical” thing on my mind my ensuring there would be someone in my flat when Currys were due to deliver the tumble dryer whilst I was away! Contrast that with yesterday when the sea state was so rough work hand-overs and tumble dryers and such material priorities were replaced by my psyching myself up for over an hour as to when I could face getting off the rail, taking off my kit and making the 20 minute struggle of a distance of less than 30 foot to go to the toilet and when off watch; the inability to sleep, although exhausted with the sound of the waves crashing against the hull as I was tied into my berth.

But that was just yesterday and I need to add very quickly I was not afraid, yes anxious and uncomfortable but very confident and felt safe with our talented and well experienced Skipper, First-mate, team-mates; Puma’s maintenance and professional shore support! Philippe had briefed us on when the weather was expected to change, I had the privilege of being on watch when it happened and it was an amazing feeling when the wind just dropped off and the sea calmed imminently. Then what I love about competing with Sailing Logic was the adrenalin; instant tactics, focus and excitement of getting the reefs out of the main sail and changing from Head Sail 3 up to Head Sail 1, and getting back to the race — we are all very keen to get our best result after all our hard work!

Back to the race — hurrah — we are seriously in this game and everyone is up for it — so keep watching! Monday and Tuesday were a great settling in couple of days for me, unlike everyone else on the team this was my first time at sea more than 26 hours consistently. By Wednesday I had settled into the watches, we had good weather and I had stopped feeling tired — although I had been sleeping a lot both off-watch and on the rail whilst on watch. Now the bad weather has passed I am really pleased we have 4 more days of this as I feel I’m just getting into it and time has gone really quickly. Funnily enough I am pleased we had a rough time on Wednesday as it was another new experience and makes me appreciate the more settled weather.

So why I am here? Why am I doing this? Well for the past 3 summers I found sail-racing a great stress release from the hustle and bustle of London and fantastic socially. I have had so much fun and I have met so many entertaining and like minded characters and indeed friends for life. I love being out on the water, pushing myself both physically and mentally — its such a complex sport and I can safely say every single day on a boat I learn at least one new skill/technique/technical understanding. I also find it has taught me; and further developed characteristics such as patience, empathy, compromise, listening, when to stand back and when to help out, how to relax and be myself, how to really be a team-player and how to lead by example.
Sailing Logic and in particular this Maderia team and campaign has been exceptional for all of the above reasons. Not sure I’m really a “yachtsperson” as I personally find sailing also makes me appreciate and enjoy my job and life in London; my comforts (high-heels & handbags etc), family and friends! When I’ve been sailing at the weekend I love going home having a bath and I actually don’t mind being back at my desk with my work colleagues having Starbucks and banter on a Monday — but that is because I have had such an exhilarating and fun weekend - the ultimate balance for me.
Sailing has put my life in perspective. I think I will settle to being a part-time yachtswoman if the yachties allow me, but at the same time give it my personal 100%!! I am enjoying every minute and find the time is going too fast. I am looking forward to the remaining days. Thanks for the emails that have been sent to boat — really nice to hear from everyone.
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