15. Spirited away

Telefonica Black
Lance Shepherd
Sun 2 Feb 2020 06:19
15:15.729N 058:10.144W - Distance to Antigua: 215 nm - ETA: 03/02/2020 14.00h ish
When the distance to go ticks down ever lower, and the wind carries hints of rum with faint rings of steel drums, it is difficult to shake the growing sense of melancholy and the ever building air of journey's end. As my time aboard Telefonica draws to a close I am faced with the bittersweet task of recounting the events and happenings of the last few months and condensing them into consumable form.
My first port of call when confronted by such a task was my newly purchased log book, however I quickly realised, that, apart from all the dreary dates and distances, all the excitement of life on board meant I had not written down a single sentence about the daily goings on. As I sat there calculating however, I swiftly came to realise these very same droll denominators told a story all of their own. Below are some summary statistics of a Telefonica existence.
From departing Palma de Mallorca to anticipated arrival in Antigua,
In 66 days with the boat:
33 days at sea,
5615nm logged,
294 hours sailed at night,
34 different crew members met,
8 different Islands/countries visited,
3 different Seas/Oceans sailed.
While days at sea, miles through water, and hours over night are all nice to have the greatest takings from this adventure are with no shadow of a doubt the skills gained, and the characters met.
Yes 5615 miles is a long way and 33 days a long time, 34 crew each coming with memories of their antics on board leaves me with many a funny story to tell and many a friend to stop in with if I'm ever passing by.
On top of this the problem solving, leadership, and practical skills I have learninged with Lance, Claire, and James will all be invaluable when approaching future tasks.
Some background information about how I joined Telefonica Black.
I was an 18 year old greenie with no real yachting experience despite what my CV was trying to insinuate, living in Palma de Mallorca at the end of the season looking for a "break" into the yachting world. While my goal was a role on a superyacht it was one of my great desires to do some proper sailing, and when a post on the Facebook group Palma Yacht Crew detailed such an itinerary I leapt at the opportunity.  I sent an introductory email to Claire who responded swiftly asking me to come and visit them in Port de Mallorca. Its rare that a 70' boat can look small however when I did what greenies to best and pottered down the dock, looking for this "volvo race boat" thing I managed to miss it first time round. Hidden 2 meters below the level of the dock with 2 100'+ yachts abrest I will admit she didn't quite strike the imposing figure I had expected. Though when I met James on board who gave me a quick tour of the boat and the low down of what to expect I was instantly sold that this was the boat for me. I clearly said something right as after a brief chat with Lance and Claire who came down the dock a few minutes later it was announced that the boat was leaving at 9 am the next day and would I like to join them. There was only one possible answer to that question.
Since then I have traversed the Mediterranean, raced around active volcanoes, weathered storms and squalls that truly test your mettle, eaten pastizzis in malta, pizzas in italy, climbed the rock of Gibraltar, and crossed vast oceans. To list but a meager few.
The opportunities this experience has opened for me are already coming thick and fast and I know that come Antigua there will be many more.
To try do justice explaining what she is like to sail is an exercise in futility. You simply have to experience it, nothing quite compares. Even when catching air in my bunk beating into a gale during the Rolex Middle Sea I had a grin on my face. And when rudely awaked to clamber onto the bow sprit to untangle a furling block one dark stormy night whilst she was charging along at 20 knts it was done with glee. Whether racing or delivering she's always a pleasure, and when in port you can't help but long to be at sea.