Progress is a funny beast. The last 12 months, as for most people, have been weirdly static. I don’t think I’ve stayed in one place this long since I was locked in a classroom (metaphorically, I think) trying to pass A level exams when all I wanted was to be on the water; not a time I particularly enjoyed.
I remind myself I’ve been incredibly lucky, a trip across the Atlantic last June from the Cayman Islands and the 1000nm Normandy Channel Race in September. Time spent in Cowes between the various lockdowns and my very patient mother letting me hang out in Surrey, often accompanied by Tara and puppy (she won’t say it but she’d rather have them without me).
I’ve remembered not to measure progress against time or in a linear fashion, but to know that I’m excited about what happens next. As long as that’s the case moving that way is the only important thing.
Vendée, Vendée, Vendée
I’m as driven as ever to be on the start line of the 2024 Vendée Globe. It’s my dream of course, but the more I dive into it, the more I realise the potential of the Vendée journey as a platform to effect change. To raise awareness of the condition I live and compete with, diabetes – increasing rates of diagnosis, literally saving lives. To show people living with any condition that life may be different, but that isn’t negative and doesn’t mean it’ll hold you back. That there are tools and technologies available that need to be understood and not feared, like the insulin pump and glucose sensor that allow me to compete.
So how does this campaign look? How do we deliver value, effect social change, and still go out trying to win races? No doubt COVID has changed the answer to these questions, but I think it’s accelerated a trend we were seeing anyway. The opportunity is in authentic content poised for remote consumption, it’s in demonstrating value led solutions to key world issues today, and more so than ever it’s in building relationships with shared values and emotion, but also clear long term vision and tangible metrics.
2021 come at me
So now I’m excited. Excited to do some doing, to put it all into practice. Vaccinations are happening thick and fast in the UK and I feel like I’m reemerging from our collective COVID cocoon – slightly paler and with softer hands in my case. Don’t get me wrong – I have enjoyed being an indoor person. Curling up on the sofa with Salty the Cockapoo is great, being warm is great, sleeping is great, eating real food is great. But I feel like Captain Jack without a ship in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (I know, I know), and the Oceans are calling….
In the meantime I’ve been training with the awesome team on ‘Powerplay’ – the blue MOD70 trimaran that is ‘a little bit less but still quite a lot’ scary despite the three transatlantic crossings and many other miles I’ve now spent on her. We’re on standby to have a go at a few local world records if the weather presents itself, so keep an eye out and don’t blink. I’m stoked to be back on the water but the eyes are firmly on the long game. The Vendée cycle starts this November with the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed transatlantic race and I intend to be there.
So this is me, building the relationships that will make the dream happen, commercial partners, charity partners, media partners, putting it all in place. If you want to chat, shout. I like talking about it and guess what? I’m around!