Days roll into one in the relentless toil towards Cape Town says Global Challenge skipper Clive Cosby

Back to work after a traumatic weekend. Races are won by those who don’t loose them. Make no mistakes, sail smart and you will be there. Make tactical errors, sail into holes or incur damage and position is lost. We lost out this weekend, but after a valiant effort by the team we are back on track minus a yankee sheet and a few hours sleep!

The Final Countdown – sadly no one onboard has a copy of this legendary air guitar-tastic rock one-hit wonder by Europe, but if they did it would have been on as we passed waypoint bravo. Full blast, late Eighties, overly tight ripped stretch jeans, shaggy permed hair, sleeveless t-shirt, teenage anger: it is one of the best. I do not know what they were counting down to, but for us it is Cape Town.

After the depths of the Southern Ocean we start to head north towards land, locked in battle still after over three weeks at sea and with some good old stories to re-count on land. The weeks, the days, the watches roll into one. The crew are woken up, move to the saloon. Is there a meal? No. Kit up, get on deck; it must be either the 2200-0200 watch or 0200-0600 watch.

Sit down, eat, porridge, bread or even pancakes if you are lucky. That’s breakfast. Soup, pasta, boil in the bag (but only beans and sausages or beans and bacon). Tha’s lunch. Anything else is supper. Change any of the above meals and no one would notice or worry, it would not even matter. The only difference seems to be whether it is dark or not.

The weather has been generally cold and wet, the routine remains constant and Cape Town gets closer, everyone is institutionalised into a familiar routine, relentless, almost monotonous but with a peaceful familiarity. Maybe we have found a new comfort zone. It feels as if we could continue at this level infinitely.

Days are only defined by events, a blank piece of paper, day 1 to today’s date listed. The challenge: write down what happened on each of those days! In normal life it’s easy – weekends, weekly routine, a structured diary all shape our lives, give them pattern and familiarity. We are in charge and easily able to control our lives. Onboard it’s not so easy. Days start to merge. Tasmania towards the end of that first week. Then fully blurred, only key events stand out, weather systems, tactical choices for me, sail changes for the crew.

Some remember meals, others the opportunity to shower. Each has different priorities, for me important on land, not at sea. This is a race every minute of every hour to Cape Town. Beyond that The Final Countdown will continue back towards Europe.

Clive Cosby, skipper Team Stelmar