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Adventures / Sailing / The Hardest Ocean Race Sets Sail!

By Jen Edney

The epic 45,000-mile race through five oceans begins with leg one, Alicante, Spain, to Lisbon, Portugal.

Video and Photo by onboard reporter Jen Edney

I pop my head up to go out the hatch and am amazed at how dark it is. Granted I have been looking at a computer screen, but seriously can’t see anyone. Once my eyes adjust to the darkness I head through the maze of lines to the back of the boat. To my amusement as I look down at the water I am mesmerized by the phosphorescence, and think about all the times people ask me about how weird it is to go to the bathroom off the back of the boat. Well, when this is the view you get, it’s not so bad!

My morning journal entry is complete, kettle is on, and I just finished my breakfast of porridge with mango (not my favorite, way too sweet!). Coffee in hand, I head up on deck to check on the crew, enjoy some blue-sky sailing and fresh air. A couple of the sailors come up, looking fresh from achieving more then two hours of sleep. Our skipper, Dee Cafarri, has a great big smile, “I feel like a new woman! I feel wonderful! I probably don’t look wonderful but two hours in my bunk (yes!) is my record since the start of this leg so far, love it!”

 

 

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The start, in Dee’s words, “was the scariest thing I’ve ever done!” I definitely won’t forget the start of my first Volvo Ocean Race. Anxiety, nerves, adrenaline, excitement and a little bit of fear are all emotions felt at the start line. Fear happened to be an overriding emotion for a brief moment as we were heading towards the leaving mark at the start of the race. We got squeezed between the spectator boats and VOR 65 Scallywag with no where to go, passing only feet away from a spectator boat on the windward side. It seemed inevitable we were going to hit one or the other, ending the race before it even began. Fortunately we made it out ok and headed off into the sunset towards the top of the fleet.

With a wild start and a variety of conditions bashing through waves at 35 knots to bobbing around in 5 knots it’s been a good intro into what to expect over the next nine months and I couldn’t be more excited (and nervous) for the adventure ahead.

First stop: Lisbon!



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