20th April, 08 30, UT, in the morning
As for my wish, and also for the reality, today is our last day at sea in this race. Though since yesterday we’ve had different winds than forecasted, we are more or less progressing and approaching BCN. At the moment we have 78 miles left, but perhaps our wind would turn up a little bit towards land and would increase, so that we can approach the so desired finish line.
A small fishing boat passed close to us, went to hunt, its driver was elbowing in the window, waving at us. It felt nice, being around people again. On the display, in front of us a whole fleet is going towards the land. They are probably fishing boats, but it’s strange that they are marching in a double line, one after the other, grabbing each other’s tail like elephants. As we get closer I’m looking for the boats on the horizon, but I can only see one boat, not more. The others must be under the surface, and only come up to take a breath sometimes.
A 5-7 knots wind came from South-East, we’ve been sailing with it for a whole hour now. I’m curious to see what it’s going to become. We had probably made our last phone conversation with BCN, we answered their questions, then for a surprise they had passed the micro on to a few dear friends from Hungary, who had come to our finish. We greeted each other one by one with all of them, I received so many nice wishes. It was very touching, I almost felt guilty to make them wait for us. Subconsciously we’ve been preparing for the arrival for weeks, yet now I had to think hard of what our obligations are for the finish. Obviously it’s to cross the finish line, but we also have certain banners and flags to set, and we’ve also been inculcated about our team wear far in advance. Wear your uniforms. For me, wearing something dry is also important now towards the end, but we’ll synchronize our clothes somehow.
I’ve become so hungry, I felt the energy flow out of me. It wasn’t the first time that I felt this, I think these meal packs contain too few calories, and I don’t have anything else. I prepared one and a half portions, to feel at least stuffed. English base, with a little Italian topping, then a Spanish peach compote. Should I open any of these conserves, in the end all of them smell like fish. It’s hard to give a good explanation to this, perhaps they’ve all been fish conserves in their previous lives. Weeks before I had promised to tell a prayer to God, to say thanks for helping us get home. This is very important, I feel this is the right thing, so I started to refresh my memory on that. I told it three times in my head, to practice. It felt good.
Today is all about emotions, either ways. When in the afternoon we were sailing with a good speed with reliable winds, we were so enthusiastic we could have flied. We had a shower, C shaved, we cleaned the boat, put everything in order, and dressed our souls in happiness. It seemed we would arrive in daylight.
Then the wind had decreased, and after a while we could see clearly that the fast arrival would not happen, so decreased our mood too. C was raging, I couldn’t talk to him, the World was over. I wasn’t happy either, I’ve never waited for a journey’s end so much as now, and it was now postponed for an indefinite period of time. If I believe the forecast, then sometime in the night we can expect some local breeze, but I don’t really believe in that. At the moment we are jibing in a calm southerly, but it doesn’t have much results. We have 15 miles left. We can see airplanes flying by, we are at the latitude of the airport of Barcelona.
Our coffee and honey had run out this morning. We still have a slice of crunchy knackebrod, which I had saved in order to make my children taste it. It’s interesting to realize what kind of products you are able to get used to, if there is absolutely nothing else in stock. (It is possible, that this will be the normal food for the human race in the future). If we sweep together all the products we have onboard, we would have just enough food for one more day. We did not over-buy our inventories …
I talked to Irén [my wife] on the phone, there is quite a big group over there, in good mood, we are the only ones missing, but not for long. We’ll be over this 12 miles somehow. At times, we did distances like this in 40 minutes.
In the night.
I realized, that the direction of flights coming into the airport had been changed. Now they were coming from the South, instead of the previous Northerly approaches. This must mean something in terms of air movements, so I jibed towards land. We gurgled for an hour, then our wind had turned to South-West and slightly increased.
We still have one restricted zone (TSS) ahead of us, the maneuvering zone in front of the industrial port, which we have to avoid, and a few miles behind it we have the finish line. Jibing in the refreshing 6-10 knots wind, our angle is a little bit negative, but we have to keep going on this tack until we can go straight to the line. Tons of enormous ships, full-drought gas tankers, touristic monsters and further unidentifiable objects are mooring in front of us full of lights, but the wind turns 10° so we don’t have to go among them, we jibe onto the final direction. We were going next to the TSS with 10 knots, when the first power rib appears and turns next to us. Flashlight strikes in our eyes, and “hurray” in our ears. They came to us. Then the more and more ribs come until there is a whole fleet around us, now we are sailing with 13 knots towards the finish. Nothing can stop us now, at 22:59:40 UTC (00:59:40 CET) we cross the line, we’re here in one piece !
By the time we roll up the C0, the deck is full of people. First Peter Perényi, then Geri Bagyó, Clara – C’s fiancée, and my family – Irén, Anna, Lili, the BWR cameraman, the reporter, everyone, I don’t even know who I’m hugging anymore, and I can’t reach the helm. Peti and Geri lowered the main sail, I start the engine, slowly chugging towards the port.
The storm of emotions slowly calms, first it’s me who’s sitting in front of the camera, then C comes too, and we are talking to Andi Robertson, the one and only reporter, who we kept in contact with the whole time.
We were still gliding on the port’s dark sea when I went to the front, kneeled down, and prayed my thanks and gratitude to the Lord. We’re here.