Clive Cosby, skipper of the Global Challenge yacht Team Stelmar sent his latest thoughts from the middle of the Southern Ocean

A year ago I stood in the Yealm Yacht Club, South Devon to give a talk about the race to the members ten years on since being cadet captain there. It was a pleasant evening and one I hope to repeat post race. I am sure that at some point I would have mentioned where we were likely to be in twelve months time … approaching the half-way point on leg IV, of the Sydney to Cape Town leg of the Global Challenge.

Things have changed a bit in that year, people, attitudes have evolved, friends have been made, a team has formed. Before, we knew each other on polite terms, civil, courteous, respectful, not out to impress but conscious of what others may think. Now there is nowhere to hide we have been on an emotional rollercoaster since day one, living on top of each other, no longer secrets, far from strangers. I do not know that people will have changed, more that another side has become apparent, one hidden in a controlled environment.

Everything about you exposed and open to scrutiny, often we comment about being far from polite society, faux pas are openly pointed out, meal time spillages not politely ignored but blatantly highlighted. There is often what appears to be a distinct lack of respect, or rather a differing level of mutual respect.

A mixture of different people, differing opinions, different motivations, different lives drawn together for the same challenge, but each with the individual take on what it all means, what it is about, what is competition, motivation, dedication. The reality of the ideology behind Global Challenge certainly makes for the right ingredients for the world’s toughest yacht race. People driven through life to excel, succeed and win alongside those content with adventure, happy to be a part of it. It is an integral part of the challenge and one that we are coping with well.

As skipper the manager, motivator and leader, an interesting and challenging job. In the office 24/7 for weeks at a time, never off duty, subject to performance reviews four times daily to be scrutinised by all.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we need it now. The long drawn out game of chess continues, recently we have lost 25nm. Along with Samsung we found the only hole in the southern ocean, slowed and off course for several hours. Now the climb back up again, the come back kids have to comeback again. Eleventh to third so far on the leg now down to sixth, but all this obsession with position ranking means little, strategy tactics and positioning means far more than distance to waypoint bravo. The drag race is on to our southern ocean waypoint, boat speed dominates our thoughts. On the toughest leg of the World’s Toughest Yacht Race the toughest times, mid race, a slip in position, time for the tough to get tougher.

Clive Cosby

Skipper – Team Stelmar