Team SCA: This is reality

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Team SCA had hoped for a better start in the Volvo Ocean Race. This all-female team had trained more for this moment than their counterparts, with exceptional support from experienced hands. Yet, they are not at the level they need to be, and they know it. Corinna Halloran, onboard reporter for the team, shares this perspective…

We’re behind. And it hurts. Heads hang low, tension mounts, fingers begin to point, a dark cloud moves in overhead. We’re not beating ourselves up—we’re simply getting hit with reality. We’re getting hit hard.

Each position report is like a blow to the gut, the kind that sucks your breath, even if you know it’s coming. We are over 400nm behind the leaders ; sixth in a six boat race. Before the Vestas situation, we were seventh—always the hunter. It’s all about the numbers.

Numbers are not in our favour and they never have been. We do not have the experience the other boats have. We have two Volvo Ocean Races between 14 of us. Abu Dhabi has 20; even the so-called ‘young guns’ on Alvimedica have nine races between the nine crewmembers.

We’re learning our footing while we watch the experienced sail off in to the horizon, only to soon become a colorful boat shape on a computer screen.

Thousands of miles ago, a few days into the race, and we were still neck and neck with Vestas Wind—both teams were constantly looking over their shoulders at the other boat. But suddenly, as if they put their rocket jets on and took off. Are we intentionally not unleashing our rocket jets or do we not have them?

This is an around the world race so we’re not sailing the boat to the point of breaking it, where as Dongfeng took out their wheel last leg and Alvimedica exploded their outrigger pole this leg. Dongfeng came in 2nd last leg and Alvimedica has come back from quite the deficit after assisting Vestas a few weeks ago. Should we be breaking our boat? Does that mean speed?

The questions spiral through our heads—why, why, why? Why us? We’ve worked so hard to be here, some of the girls have been training for two years.

How do we fight in these conditions—when it feels like we’re just working against what Mother Nature continues to throw at us. We know we can do this, we know we can sail hard, but what is preventing us to perform in the way we know we can?

There’s another side to the reality though, one that does shed light on the harsh situation, and one that pulls us through this darkness. This is only the beginning. The fat lady has not sung.

We’ve only sailed 10,000 miles of a 40,000 mile race. We still have more than 75% of the planet to sail around. To compare this to Everest, we haven’t even arrived at base camp yet.

Moving forward, we will continue to have bad moments but soon those tough moments will be overshadowed by moments of greatness—moments of achieving what nay-sayers deemed impossible. Our moments are coming.

We are a team of strong, fighting women and we not only owe it to ourselves to keep fighting but we also owe it to everyone who believes in us.

 

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