29th June 2022
So after just over 4 days of exciting racing, we made it from Bermuda to New York, taking 4th place, equalling the best result for the team since the race began in 2019.
After some excellent race tactics from our race skipper we took an early lead, before a combination of windholes and badly damaging one of our sails meant we were edged off the podium, finishing just 15 minutes behind 3rd place, (and 30 minutes or so ahead of 5th!). The last day of the race was incredibly close, with the top 8 boats finishing within a couple of hours of one another.
With 6 new crew on board, this race was a great chance to help get the team in shape ahead of the Atlantic crossing, starting 29th June. The first 2 days out of Bermuda were tough, with seasickness affecting all 6 new crew to varying degrees. It’s a common problem because adjusting to the very different way of life on board, with broken sleep and minimal personal space takes a heavy toll on the body and mind. Adding in bumpy sailing conditions meant we had considerably fewer takers for meals than expected over the first few days!
With 6 new crew and 5 leaving, evolving the team dynamic in a positive way is key. If we are to perform on what will be a much tougher 18 days across the Atlantic, we’ll need everyone as aligned as possible on our goals, and committed to putting the effort in to help us achieve them. The Clipper Race is open to anyone, so crew come with a range of abilities and personal priorities. The key to our success will be in understanding what those are for each individual, then utilising their strengths to maximise their contribution to the team. Of course, certain basic behaviours are non-negotiable (e.g. come on watch promptly), but performance beyond that requires accepting difference and understanding what strengths we can utilise for each person.
With teams (as with people) first impressions count - I’m very happy that the first experience for our new crew has been of a friendly, supportive team, but which has a real drive to win. I’m confident we’ll carry that ethos through to the next race, and I think it gives us a great chance of another strong position. Wish us luck!