I just watched the sun set over San Francisco bay, leaving the Golden Gate bridge as a glowing silhouette. This view is always stirring, but tonight it touches me more deeply than usual. Today I watched my friends, some old and some new, all intrepid sailors, sail under that iconic bridge and out to sea. Today was the start of the 2018 Singlehanded Transpac. The last of the light is gone now, and all I can do is think of them all out there on their first night of many, alone at sea.
Every moment today brought back visceral memories for me. The most poignant of which was when Carliane pulled away from the dock. As she turned back and waved at all of her supporters, I could not hold back my tears. I know the magnitude of this moment is no different whether male or female, but I feel more kindred with her, because like me, she was the only woman in a sea of male skippers setting out to sea alone. Our feat is not different from that of the men, but the fact that women are rare in these races aligns me with her, as two chain links encircling one another do to make the chain strengthen and grow. It also motivates me further to lure a record number of women to be with me at the starting line in 2020.
I wrote that on June 23rd, from my brother’s home in Tiburon, CA. I never got around to posting it for some reason, but today, when a handful of racers have finished in Hanalei, and it hit me that Carliane is about 24 hours from the finish, I feel moved to do so.
When I saw her proximity to land today, more memories started flooding me, and my excitement for her (and all of them) became palpable. I can still feel it, the bittersweet realization that landfall is imminent. This will be her last sunset at sea, her last sunrise, her last starry night. I can feel all of that stirring my own soul. Also, the excitement to make landfall and hug those we hold dear, but the simultaneous mourning of the last taste of a freedom that I am sure I will never be able to put into words. I don’t profess to know how she is feeling, but I am so grateful for our connection and that her journey has sparked in me of so many important realizations about my own…mainly that I want to go out there again. Now I can feel why people are called to make this crossing over and over again. The pull is strong, and I can only assume (and hope) that there are more answers out there to the questions that tug at my soul.
My thoughts and mojo are with all of you brave sailors as you trickle into Hanalei Bay this week. I wish I could be there with you under the tree, but instead, I am with you all in spirit!!!
I will close with a quote from one of my new friends (and favorite sailors), Bill Meanley, who is making the crossing again as we speak, and is also within a day of land:
“I can’t tell you how wonderful it is out here today because that might jinx us. So I won’t mention the warm, steady trades blowing 15-20, the seas smoothing as the cross swell diminishes, the beginning of puffy tradewind clouds, the vast expanse of the sea all around with no hint of the distant civilization over the horizon, just the soft moan of the wind, the sound of breaking waves and of clear blue seas rushing past Dolfin”s hull. I can’t tell you any of this because then Mother Nature might take it away…..But I can tell you is it’s pretty nice out here.”