Just under 1,200 miles to the finish and Rob Windsor onboard 11th Hour Racing in the TJV starts to reflect on what this campaign has meant

Two of my favorite quotes are, “Experience is the only thing in life that you can’t get for free” and “Quitters never win and winners never quit”.

The experience we gain from this race is already and will ultimately be massive. It’s certainly had its costs. Sure, there was a monetary cost, but more than that there was time. Time away from family and friends, time away from land where showers are not considered luxury, time from being able move about as you please. Three months of prep and by the time we are finished with the race, a month at sea. For this experience and what I’ve learned, 4 months was worth the price.

I’ve learned about launching a campaign and all the logistics and finances that surround it. I’ve learned that you can actually grow food on a boat at sea and eat it! I’ve put into practice keeping the trash on board down to a minimum so we end up with only one bag after a month at sea. I now know exactly how long the hydrogenerator needs to stay down to charge the batteries at 10 knots of boat speed. I have learned how to deal with living in a foreign country. I learned that going to Cross Fit actually does have benefits. I know more French than I did 6 months ago. I know where to go for boat parts in Le Havre. My network of contacts has grown a bunch. I can go on and on, but ultimately this entire experience while not free, will be something that I will always have and will allow me to be better in the future.

The second quote is really important to me. Hannah and I make our living in the sailing industry. We are winners, we have both been on the podium before and we will both be there again. Winning isn’t always about the scoreboard and in this particular race that’s never been more true. If through the course of these last few months, we’ve inspired a few people to stick with it when it gets tough, that would make me happy and I would call it winning. If we’ve inspired some to take on a few of the initiatives that we have onto their boats that would be great and I would certainly call that winning. I hope that sometime after this is over, someone will come up to me and say, we just put a hydrogenerator on our boat or we just installed solar panels, that would be winning. What we have been doing out here is important to me. The desire to do the right thing for our environment needs to be as big as the desire to win in order to make a difference. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be on the podium. I want to win on the scoreboad. It didn’t happen this time, but this will not be my last sailing race. I am going to take the experience along with with my “quitters never win and winner never quit” and go try to win the next one.