A year ago, CV 20 motored down the Thames into the heart of London, and back to our starting point 11 months earlier. The race had finished the evening before, and our boat had carried us more than forty thousand miles round the globe, through every conceivable condition (and some we hadn't conceived until we actually went through them).
Excitement and relief were the two main emotions on board. Excitement to see home, and loved ones. Relief that the race was over, that we'd made it, and that we'd be able to shower, or cook, or grocery shop, or go online, whenever we wanted. No more waiting for scheds, seeing where we were in the fleet. No more poring over weather forecasts, wondering what the next six hours would bring. No more going to our bunks, hoping that there would be no 'all hands' call.
But also, no more sundowners. No more dolphins swimming alongside the boat, day or night. No more phosphorescence, no more hating the person waking you up for your shift and loving that person when they replaced you on deck. No more exhilaration as the boat surfs down a wave, going faster than anything that size has a right to go under the power of the wind, one eye for the kite and any sign of collapse and one eye for Campbell's cheeky grin on the helm, while Ross's commentary continues ever onward.
Sometimes it's hard to believe it's been a year. It's been a pretty busy year, for me, until the last month or so. All the time I thought I'd have on the race, well, I have it now. Did I get what I want out of the race? Some. Probably more than I realise. I'd reckon I'm a bit more easy going now, tend to sweat the small stuff less, appreciate what I have more. I learned about endurance, mine and my teammates and the people at home who followed along with us, living vicariously through our blogs and emails and stories and Skype sessions.
Would I do it again? No. Not the whole thing. There's no point. But I'm glad I did it, I'm happy I was on the boat I was, with the skipper and crew, I'm sorry for putting my friends and family at home through it (and maybe a little my skipper and crew too), and maybe one day I'll be able to wrap my head around what we did out there.