Letter from Andrea Fantini out on the ocean: wind, sea and passion en route to Guadeloupe
Hi there guys,
Greetings to the whole, huge Slam family – my name is Andre and I’m writing to you from the middle of the ocean, about 1,000 miles from Guadeloupe. I’m sorry I didn’t check in with you earlier but the last two weeks haven’t been exactly easy, and the two weeks before that even less so… the decision to take refuge in Lorient challenged some of the (few) constants in my life, and so caused me a great deal of distress and some significant fallout as well. The week spent in Lorient waiting for the right weather to set out again was truly terrible, I thought more than once about throwing in the towel, I don’t mind admitting. Then, finally - still with adverse weather conditions but not quite so bad as the week before - I (actually “we”, I’m with another 15 boats) managed to set out again, and during my first night back on the water I discovered that Joyon had just won the Route du Rhum.
Whereas I and my little boat were just setting out… that wasn’t easy. But the days passed, one by one, hour after hour, as we tackled problems of the cold, the icy water, the lack of sleep and food, the stress of the first strong bout of depression and, as Dejayeux says (possibly the strongest ocean-going sailor ever) “la course au large c'est un merde par jour...". And, it really is – every day brings a new battle to fight, to win, every day something breaks, and whatever happens you only have yourself to depend upon to find the solutions. It’s great for character building, the very best life lessons you could have… yes, because one day the wind changed, direction north-east, with the trade winds, and life changed again.
Oh, how it changed as everything took on new meaning, and I settled into with the rhythm of the sea, the wind, the waves and the regatta. Eating, drinking, sleeping and adjusting the sails – nothing more, nothing less, a simple life that clears away the cobwebs. Of course, I am fighting for a place with the tail-end group and not a day goes by that I don’t think about how I stopped but then I remember that another 53 boats gave up altogether, 5 were dismasted, 3 capsized, one hit a cargo ship, and yet I am still here – and then I give it everything I have to try and arrive as quickly as possible, before the others. I hope to hear you once I’m over the finishing line…
A big hug to you all!