You hear people talking about how hard this race is and how tired you’ll be by the end but I was nowhere near ready for the way I felt during the last night of leg three. I don’t know if it was something to do with not eating quite enough real food, a hangover from my stomach bug the week before or just the cumulative fatigue of the whole race but I’m not sure I’ve ever felt such and comprehensive and all encompassing tiredness. After rounding Needles Fairway buoy right on Henry’s tail (and then filling my ballast on the wrong side and letting him get away!) I could barely move my arms and wanted nothing more than to curl up in the bottom of the boat and sleep. A short nap, a loaf of maltloaf and three paracetamol later I had given myself a good talking to and was back at the helm giving it my all on the feisty reach to the finish, ending up in the 20s but only just over half an hour behind the leader.
Having had some time to think about the race now I’m still just a tiny bit disappointed with my overall result. Having made a promising start to leg one and then lost out when the wind died I made a major c**k up early on in both of the next two legs. The start and the early stages of the leg are where I believe I am best and even on a three day race getting away well can have a big impact on your overall placing. To have put myself on the back foot in the first hour of these two legs was galling, especially the boat handling error where I knocked the pilot off mid drop on leg three. But with the benefit of hindsight I am happy to have finished the race without any major problems and also succeeded in my overall goal of having an enjoyable Solitaire.
Having the support of the Artemis Offshore Academy in the buildup made the planning very straight forward and then being surrounded by a great team of coaches, preparateurs, stagiers, family and sailors made it a great month of competition. I certainly have the bug for this race now and I’m sure that there is potential to finish a lot higher up the leader board. Along side a summer of taking guests out in the Figaros and working on fitness my main activity for the foreseeable future is hunting for sponsorship so I can come back stronger next year.