The machine-gun rattle of the ratchet on the jib sheet winch snapped me out of my reverie and reminded me that we were tacking. I needed to think about where I was sitting, what I was doing and holding and where I was looking. I had been staring off at the coast,at the waves as they crashed into the end of the headland. Such power and majesty – I see it often and yet it always moves me.
Jacques turned to me, cigarette in his mouth as ever, and nodded that all was ok; we had gone about cleanly and now we needed to trim the boat and do our part to help Yves plough the course that would extend our lead. As I settled into my spot I closed my eyes and enjoyed the warm sun on my face and the fresh smell of the sea on the breeze; the feeling of salt on my skin.
I have been told by some that it is corny to speak romantically of the sea and my connection to it – we are an island nation, so we are all sailors at heart they have said to me. Still in that moment I knew no greater joy than making way under sail.