Update: day 18, Thanksgiving!
Paradoxically, the biggest bumps in the road appear when the sea is the flattest! There have been a few nasty kinks and turns in my route lately that deserve explication. One was a step to the south when I bore away to climb the mast to replace the lashing that secures the halyard lock on the top of the mast (the critical connection for all the forward sails, gennakers, spinnakers etc). Despite calm conditions it was a tough and dangerous climb and I am still carrying the bruises from my efforts although I can breath easily knowing that the mast is secure for the south. Another step towards the north was to avoid a huge cloud that barred my path completely and shifted the wind so much I did a U turn! I had to change sails and head upwind out of its blustery reach before rejoining the others on our route towards Capetown. Finally last night our neat tidy parallel lines on the tracker turned to spaghetti again as our entire group ground to a halt and wiggled around all night trying to make headway. In ocean racing, as in life, there are bumps in the road that need to be conquered with patience, focus and self motivation. The important thing is to remain supple, to bend rather than break, and to focus on the bigger picture. Part of that bigger picture is that it's Thanksgiving day today in America, that favorite holiday where the entire country pays hommage to almost starving to death with indecent acts of ritualized gluttony. While I might be alone at sea eating powdered spaceman food instead of surrounded by family and friends, this year I have a lot to be thankful for as I am currently living a dream that has motivated me for a decade. The preparation for this Vendee Globe has at times been incredibly stressful as we were short of funds but the flipside of that is that we worked with close friends in a really positive environment. So thanks to Cyril for getting stuck in in January and every day since, to Jay for the inspired ropework, to Solène and Marion for helping with the food, to Amaury for the sewing machine, to Jimmy, to the high flying Claire and Natasha for amazing sticker work and to my wife Clara for leading the charge. You are too many to thank personally but know that you made this possible and whether you like it or not, you're out here with me. Just count your lucky stars that you're not eating freeze dried as well!