14 - Time to think
Tuesday 5th August
When I sent Sunday's update, minutes after stopping the clock as we arrived off Cape Wrath, I said I'd reveal more about our feelings in yesterday's journal, which didn't happen in the end. Everything caught up with us, and we were just too exhausted to think of anything.
As we stopped beneath the cliffs of Cape Wrath, I felt quite empty - depressed, even. I should of course have been bubbling over with elation, and for Egbert, our friendly Newfoundlander, I'm sure that was the case. He'd come looking for an adventure, and by golly, he got an adventure and a half. Not until you experience the terrifying reality of massive seas pounding you relentlessly do you come to terms with your own humble mortality, and when you come out the other side unscathed - if somewhat battered and bruised - it's a hell of a buzz.
But it was a different story for me. I'd actually felt uncomfortable with the idea of doing this trip at all. I didn't want to do it in the same way that Egbert clearly did - I felt it was something I had to do. It was a question of finishing off last year's epic voyage, which came to such a traumatic end when Steve Lloyd suffered a heart attack - the culmination of three and a half months of one lot of torture and disappointment heaped after another. Doing this transatlantic - my second, and Alan and Jan's third - was going to be the only way of drawing a line under all of that - getting what the Americans would call "closure".
Funnily enough, Alan admitted pretty much the same thing. We've always tended not to show our emotions too much, rather displaying typical British stiff upper lip when it came to adversity. We had adversity a-plenty last year, and he too felt that he didn't really want to do this trip other than to finish off the job and bring the boat home. Bettering our 2001 world record transatlantic time was simply a bonus.
I suppose I shouldn't finish this without mentioning the boat, our dear old boat. She started life as Spirit of Portsmouth, then became Spirit of Cardiff, now Jolly Sailor. Who knows what the future holds for her? One thing we do know is that you couldn't possibly ask more of any boat. She has been pounded by seas which would cause lesser vessels to turn turtle and sink. She has protected us through the most violent storms, and performed admirably.
For us now, the immediate focus is on the next few days leading up to our big arrival in Portsmouth on Saturday. After a fantastic welcome in Bangor, Northern Ireland, Tuesday will see us on the Isle of Man, followed by Falmouth, Torquay and Weymouth. Now we've finished our challenge, the charity side of the event takes over as we continue to help to raise funds for the Make a Wish Foundation and the Community Food Sharing Association in Newfoundland.
© 2003 Clive Tully
Update transmitted by Stratos Iridium satellite phone.
Jolly Sailor in Bangor marina: