• Sophie Dingwall

Relentless - adjective: continuing in a severe or extreme way

WET. WET. WET. When praying doesn't help, there's no booze onboard... How we learned laughing is the best drug to conquer anything.

“So…I know it’s been a while since we spoke… But could you help a girl out?! Amen.”
Attempting to dry the sail with my one and only towel #dedication #shouldhavepackedbetter

Prayers for fair winds were spoken in desperation by Nat sitting at the saloon table with her hands clasped together over her head. I looked over to her, wet and salty I laughed. I'm pretty sure she only got his secretary of his answerphone.

I carried on stitching the sail. The broken mizzen sail that took me 8 to hand stitch back together. Memories flooded me from the past and I remembered why I gave up sailmaking for a career! My sore fingers throbbed but finally by morning it was done and we had hope again for reaching the Azores.

The wind was continuous, never stopping for a breath. The waves gave us airtime in our bunks and the whistle of the wind was like white noise. As this calmed, longer waves rolled us to sleep from side to side. On deck I would squint my eyes to hide from the spray from the waves crashing over the bow, grasping onto the wheel of the helm, bracing for the next wave. Don’t worry…most of the time I managed to have a cup of Earl Grey tea with milk and one sugar in the other. (Habit to specify exactly how you want your tea when sailing)

I felt strong but tired, damp but warm, fed up but grateful.

Sometimes, only when it’s only you, the elements and 13 other women that have become your loving dysfunctional family do you realise the important things. The ocean is so vast and powerful, I believe that being out there really puts things into perspective and you get a respect for the ocean that perhaps can’t be understood without this experience.

We had adjusted to life at 45 degrees.

Strong winds were still haunting us and this time it was beautiful. Windy but beautiful. The colour of the sea turned monochrome and it was like being a part of an old black and white film. The whole sky turned grey to match and the only hint of colour was the fluorescent hoods of the crew sitting on deck. Funny how now, nothing seemed that bad. It was blowing spots off dogs but we still go for a walk.

The miles to our destination dropped slowly and I longed for the day I didn't have to wear boots. This was honestly the worst part of getting up. I now have PTSD over this!

Dry socks had become a personal issue of mine and the communal dirty sock bag in our cabin was something no one dare touch. Smelling of roses was not a way I would describe us 10 days in...

#evidence #openthehatches

Lying in my bunk I wake suddenly to a bad smell. Strong enough to wake ME from my sleep has to be pretty god damn bad. Unfortunately for me (and the rest of our cabin) one of the crew (who can't be named ...yet) has gained a reputation for this. Needless to say, a good airing was well overdue.

Hang us out to dry

Crystals glistened as the salt dried on our jackets and faces. Sparkling little faces gleamed with smiles as finally the sun had come out. The time we had all been waiting for had arrived and we were drying out! The wind had changed direction and it could be described as Champagne sailing onboard, minus the champers but we were only 200nm from the Azores.

We were so nearly there after such a tough leg. We had grown together and it was sad to think of the leg ending and my strange family all pulled together by one common goal were going to be leaving.

Laughter got us through the tough times, I’m super proud of everyone onboard and feel privileged to have sailed this leg with them all.

Keep laughing,(we did a lot) take the rough with the smooth (a lot of rough) and go spread all the good from this amazing adventure.

For now, farewell Leg 1 you've been badass

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