Its been a long time I have posted a blog and I think Naomi Osaka has given me strength to blog again. Her bold step on preserving her mental health is very inspirational. My time away from some of the social media surrounding the Golden Globe Race has been because of similar reasons. If you have not seen it on my Facebook page, I had an episode with some bigots around the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder post from Lewis Hamilton. Its unfortunate that I must deal with such people in today’s day and age.
There is a lot of preservation of mental health required going into a race like the one I am participating it and I am taking steps to make sure that I am on the right spot to take on the challenge. Many might think what the big deal and people like me make up issues that aren’t there but fail to realise that everybody’s reality is different. I have had a tough time dealing with preparation for the race as I am in a part of the world that I am new in, wait there are others preparing their boat in a different part of the world too, but again you don’t see the difference because it is not your reality. I stick out like a sore thumb at every sailing event or marina I step into. They don’t get their sailing qualifications dissected every time they ask for help and the community around them looks like them and is of the same culture as them. Its different, even though you think it is not, it is!
There are small things that affect people like me that don’t affect many in the sailing world because I am a minority, in my club, in sailing in my city and in sailing. How I get treated at sailing clubs’ matters, how I get treated by fellow sailors matters, how I get treated by the staff at the sailing club matters because mostly I don’t get treated the same way. When I get yelled at by the cleaning staff at my club for entering the bathroom and next moment a fair skinned person does not for doing the same mistake makes a big difference to my mental health. Its just like I am in multiple races at the same time, races which other competitors don’t have to be part of.
That is why stepped away from a lot of social media while only keeping Instagram to post only. I unfollowed a lot of content that was getting in the way of my mental health including the race page which had stopped sharing my updates for a long time. Of all the blogs and updates I got only 3 shares in the last one year, imagine that. In a sailing world where every competitor is most likely going after the same sponsors and same people to raise funding, a serious handicap when your reach is curtailed or when your posts are made fun of. This was another reason why I stopped posting on Facebook. But I don’t want to get into it, I don’t have to share much data to prove my point everyone can go check it out for themselves. My posts had more sarcastic titles than those of anyone else. But you know it’s a game of eyeballs and if someone else is perceived to be better for media, so be it. I will carry on doing what I want to do my way.
And if all this above isn’t enough the covid-19 crisis in India has hit my family hard. My father has lost three siblings in the last few months and I lost a close cousin too. The apathy in which India finds itself is affecting the mental health of many like me who are away from home. There is not much we can do to help and the feeling of guilt of not being there for our loved ones breaks us.
Now getting back to the boat and sailing. I have had some great progress on the deck and the boat. The deck is ready for painting this weekend. The electricals are almost in place and the boat should be ready for sailing in a week or two. I have just received a couple of used sails and we are also getting ready to install the Cape Horn windvane. For those who may sound surprised, Cape Horn is now approved. I had to send a bunch of information twice to prove that the windvane is good enough for the race and I believe it will behave well with my boat.
On the personal side, I have started working with Sarah Williams at Borntoendure.com who has been coaching me through the mental side of things. John Curtis at WindAthletes has been a great help and has introduced me to Richard Clarke which has helped me mentally. Thomas Fogh and Mark Searle at PCYC have been tremendous resources with boat work and preparation. My neighbours at the club Lou Ferreira and Lynd Hutchison have been amazing people who have helped me get through most of this period with my mental health intact. How can I fail to mention the great work my friends Ashish, Moksh, Vikas and Gaurav have been putting on the boat?
As the boat comes close to completion and close to sailing again I will update weekly and try to get more pictures for everyone.