The last time Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Emirati crewmember Adil Khalid left China is was by airplane after competing in the 2008 Olympic Games in the singlehanded Laser dinghy class.
"I’ve swapped being a soloist, competing in a race just a few hours long, for being a team player racing around the world for nine months solid" Adil Khalid - Emirati crewmember, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Four years on he is part of his country’s first ever entry in the Volvo Ocean race and has several thousand ocean racing miles under his belt.
In a blog from the boat today Khalid took the chance to reflect on how he had developed both as an athlete and a person:
My world today is very different to that of just a few years back. I’ve swapped being a soloist, competing in a race just a few hours long, for being a team player racing around the world for nine months solid.
Yet it is so much more than that. Being around the world’s toughest and best sailors has left a lasting impression on me. It has taught me what it is like to rely on others completely.
When I was racing Lasers, it was just me and the boat. Now it is 10 other guys who hold my life in their hands, and who share in our combined successes and disappointments.
And success is the name of the game.
As we head out of Sanya into the vast ocean on our way to New Zealand, the fourth Volvo Ocean Race leg, we know that a good result is critical for us to stay in the hunt for a podium place.
This has already been a strange leg. The organisers decided to split the start into two because of cyclonic conditions. This meant that we raced a short 40 nautical mile course off the Sanya coast, then parked up over night before heading out again on Monday morning.
I can understand the decision; there is no point the fleet heading out into weather that could smash the boats when we could delay a little and hopefully miss a lot the dangerous winds. As our navigator said, “this is sport, not a battle to the death.”
Yet, we are glad to be out on the open seas again. The first few days have been rough; we have had one injury, when Wade Morgan smashed his head on the deck. Luckily it was only minor but serves as a warning to us all that this is serious business and anything could happen at any time.
We don’t truly know what is in store for us in the coming weeks, the weather is continuously changing. In the last race, this leg was the worst ever in the event’s history.
Already this one is living up to its reputation. Let’s hope our next blog brings more calming news!