Nine months as a groupie. Following Team Sca had become a fixation, and every day in front of my computer or iPhone screen I was cheering almost like a stadium for the all-female magenta team starring in the recently concluded Volvo Ocean Race. Imagine my moment of glory when one morning like many, in the thick of the Genoa Boat Show (where Team SCA was a guest along with Team Vestas), I found myself on board with them. To step on that blanket with his feet for months seen flying on the water. The crew was not full, missing the two “queens”: Dee Caffari and skipper Sam Davies, who nine months around the world was not enough and have already thrown themselves back into the Ocean. But the rest of the team was on board with the goal for the day to beat Team Vestas in a match race around a stick positioned in front of the Port of Genoa. Group tactician Sally Barkow takes the helm, and it’s show time. “If someone would love to helm please say yes!”
MOMENTS OF GLORY: WHAT A PERFORMANCE AT THE HELM!
My time has come: I take the helm. A smile prints itself on my face that will not leave me for hours. Crazy cool: at the helm the VOR65 feels like a skiff, glides over the water like a bar of soap, has impressive acceleration at the slightest increase in pressure. I did not expect so much power. When I take over the wheel we are slack and I really enjoy it like I am on a drift: hemming to create the apparent and then leaning at speed to get closer to the buoy. Always under the watchful eyes of Sally, who trusts, but not too much. Amazed by so much power, I think about what it means to take such a boat on a round-the-world trip where you encounter borderline weather situations: maximum concentration 24 hours a day, unable to miss a beat. This team is super close-knit, after nine months like this they have no intention of disbanding, and even though the sponsor has not confirmed the commitment for the next edition, the girls are sure to find an alternative to reappear more fierce than ever on the starting line in 2017. And I am already cheering. Go Girls!