BANG! That’s what they say, right, when you fly out of the gates? PUMA’s Mar Mostro left Alicante with one today – fast and furious. There’s nothing quite like shaking off the nerves and first-time jitters with 25 knots of wind, fireworks, and a crazed racecourse; it kept everyone focused and on their toes. Seriously though, what a goodbye. It’s fair to say we’ve all been looking forward to this day and its arrival couldn’t be sweeter. Everyone has been anxious to get this race started and there was an almost immediate sense of relief upon leaving the dock. No more work lists, no more appointments, errands, or distractions. There are only us, five other boats, several big oceans, one equator, and almost 7,000 miles to go until our next destination of Cape Town, South Africa.
As exciting as that may read, it’s never easy leaving family and friends behind, and no matter how professional one might appear – it’s a gut-wrenching process of goodbyes. For me it was a set of parents and a younger brother, for others it was a wife. Some it was a girlfriend or even a full family. I can tell from their reactions that it doesn’t get any easier with time. There’s a lot of love and emotion poured into this job, and I would bet it is going to drive a lot of us forward in the tougher times to come.
Speaking of driving forward, we’re chipping away at the leaders in about 10 knots of wind just south of mainland Spain; we’re a couple of miles from shore and sailing upwind in the lee of a few taller mountains. We’ve stayed high and risked encountering these lighter winds to sail fewer miles before turning to a more easterly direction in the next few hours. The 35 knots and choppy sea state of earlier this evening is gone and now it’s time to settle in for a busy first night at sea.