Charlie's Voyage - Charlie Garratt - Circumnavigator
This is it!
This is it, we've finished! I first signed up to take part in the Clipper Race back in the Winter of 2014 and now here I am entering back into Liverpool summer 2018: a circumnavigator. What does that mean to me right now? I cannot say, my emotions are overflowing and constantly changing. Perhaps I'll have an answer in a month or perhaps I'll never find the right words.
Having turned my life effectively upside down to be able to achieve this dream I now look to the future with a “what now?” attitude. What do you do after you've sailed around the world? Pure adrenalin is pumping through me right now yet I know when I finally let myself breath again, I'll feel like I've been stunned and walking round in a daze. Right now, my top priority will be to reacquaint myself with family and friends, I very much doubt that anything/anyone has stayed the same as when I left. We've all changed over the course of the race but it will be a little exciting to discover who we all are again and how we fit back into each other’s lives.
Returning to land-based life
Returning to land-based life will require an adjustment period, life onboard has been so simple; no need to decide when or what to eat, what to wear, where to go or what to do. I've never been great at being decisive, so I fear this may make me worse initially on my return. What is that phrase...sorry not sorry?! Out here all I have to worry about is pulling my weight in the team, making sure the team and I stay safe as well as being concerned for the welfare of friends across the fleet which upon every port arrival I would let out a sigh of relief as one by one they would all come safely in. Land based life offers much more to be concerned about yet I hope I take away a lesson or two and not sweat the small stuff so much, life really is for living and if it's not making you happy then you need to change that.
Managing and coping with fear
If I look back on all I've achieved in sailing so far (not just the Clipper Race), I started out as a scared young girl who thought she'd drown which was an odd feeling for someone who had always loved the sea! Yet here I stand having just completed probably the biggest sailing voyage of my life, while I cannot say that my fear has completely dissipated (I was given a very stark reminder while punt racing in Derry – perhaps I'll stick to yachts from now on!) I've learnt how to manage and cope with my fear. It will always be with me, some days almost non-existent and others ever so present however, the important thing to remember is that it hasn't stopped me nor should I let it. If you really do want to achieve something you will find the strength from within, you may even surprise yourself as I certainly have. Who knew that my favourite day would turn out to be that one day from Leg 2 when I just could not escape the waves?! They were set on taking me out, and that they did! My only regret is that I was not wearing my Typhoon drysuit!
Returning with confidence
I will be forever grateful to the race for introducing me to a strong group of females. We have seen each other through this adventure together. Whether you are going through hardships on the race or from events that took place at home since being away, we (and I) always had someone to turn to. We became a family, they have taught me so much both collectively and individually. I'll return with traits from them all (bringing a smile to my face when I catch myself showing said traits) but I'll also return more confident not only in myself but in my sailing capabilities. Some may have been daunted by the prospect of such a strong group of females, but I hope they walk away from this race having seen the positive effect it has had on us all because for me it’s done nothing but good to be surrounded by the love, support and strength that they gave. I am already looking forward to our reunion!
I guess all that remains is to say thank you to everyone who has followed my adventure, my mum and family for their endless support as well as a huge thanks to Ocean Safety for picking me to be their ambassador. The kit I was provided with has been invaluable! I think it’s safe to say my Exposure R.A.W head-torch is the only one to survive this round the world voyage (aboard Dare To Lead any ways). I am forever grateful that I never had to use my MOB torch for its intended purpose, but I can tell you now it makes for a fantastic trimming torch, you'll be the envy of the whole crew but just be prepared that you'll end up being the one who always checks the trim and if not you your torch certainly will!
As for me I guess it is time to say goodbye, life's adventures are waiting around the corner and the only thing I have to do is decide if I am going to go for them. However, I think the real adventure for now will be finding out what 'normal life' feels like, if there is such a thing? I know my mum will be happy to see me settle...for a while at least!
Officially a Circumnavigator!
This blog was written by Charlie Garratt, Clipper 2017/18 Crew Member and 3Si Ocean Safety Ambassador.