We were not even mid-way to the finish, but I was raring to go like a stable-bound horse.
Well, perhaps I should not dare to compare myself to a horse—but to a donkey, staying in the race despite the ongoing technical breakdowns. I also had to take care of my cart (Puffin).
There is no use quoting more land-based analogies as everything is completely different on the oceans.
The daily routine, for example, does not start in the morning.
The demand to adjust the sails and the course is at the mercy of the weather but maintaining a constant lookout for traffic or shore is even more crucial to avoid a collision or running aground.
So, the biggest challenge for the solo skipper is to create the proper routine and adjust it to the current region and weather.
The solo sailor must constantly be on alert in main shipping lanes with heavy commercial traffic, near land, or in shallow water. Yet, they cannot drain their energy either.
The solution is maintaining a cautious balance in resting, eating, dressing, and relaxing. The solo sailor must learn to rest with “cat naps” and go to sleep depending on the current conditions.
I, for example, prefer to sleep for longer periods during the daytime when my boat is more visible to other vessels.
This allows me to spend more time on the deck during the night to avoid potentially being overrun by commercial ships (small sailboats usually reflect very weak radar signals, and the lookout on cargo vessels is far less disciplined nowadays).
Navigation is the solo skipper’s other main priority—especially in Golden Globe Race, where no GPS or other electronics are allowed.
The easiest celestial bodies to shoot in small boats are the Sun & Moon due to the constant pitching and rolling. But they are often covered by clouds as the weather frequently changes in the Southern Oceans. The skipper should be on sharp standby and ready to shoot the Sun or Moon whenever they show up.