Location: Atlantic Ocean

Good morning/afternoon/evening to all those checking in on Vela’s progress.

Today marked a major turning point on our voyage. We are now less than 100nm from Barbados and expect to make landfall tomorrow morning. Our final dinner on the open ocean was set to a backdrop of countless cumulus clouds stretching deep into a fire-red sky, with Jefferson Airplane accompanying a spectacular sundown. The wind has been steadily veering all afternoon, and we are now seeing out the last of it before we strike sails and motor the final stretch. I would be sad to report this. However, I cannot complain. I have experienced some of the most excellent sailing over the last 48 hours – sustaining 9kts on a beam reach in glorious sunshine for the most part! (French Guyana did not disappoint)

It is at this stage of passage that our students have become understandably more introspective. An hour on the hour, the winds may shift, and the swell may change, yet our lives continue, and we simply adapt to the conditions. We share a unifying goal of getting Vela from A to B, and now is the time that we acknowledge how close B is, and how far we have come. For our students – who are not accustomed to crossing oceans – this can be the catalyst for a somewhat mind-numbing epiphany. For the rest of the staff and myself, it is our greatest privilege to share in this moment with our students. Although clich, the reward of bearing witness to such personal growth cannot be overstated. Personally, this is why I am here. Today, I was reminded of this.

I am sure the magic of being offshore will ebb away as we move on to this exciting Caribbean leg of our voyage, but I hope it won’t leave them entirely. To paraphrase the wisest sailor I know – ‘you’re on the boat, be on the boat.’