Tony Rae will make a simple wish when he blows out the 51 candles on his birthday cake on Tuesday -- to be back racing around the world in the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race at the age of 54.
"My mind is still right. Let's see if my body can hang in there" - Tony Rae
New Zealander Rae will spend the day sailing with his CAMPER team mates before a sober celebration in Lorient, four days before the action resumes with the Bretagne In-Port Race on Saturday.
He remains in great shape despite the physical and mental demands of what is his fifth appearance in the Race and by far the toughest of those assignments.
"This Race is very, very different," he said. "I was just watching the video of the last leg and there isn't any footage like that from previous races that I've done. These boats are so much quicker, so much more physical. When you're leaping off waves, you see the damage that's been done and damage to people too. We're pushing a lot harder and we're all a lot closer together. It's just push, push, push.
"If I'm still in one piece, I might get to go around again," added. "Let's see if I get asked. My mind is still right; whether my body can hang in there...
"Age is just a number. If you're fit enough and injury free you're good to go. You have to be injury free to get around on this boats otherwise it's a mission. The next race there'll be less crew again and that closes up again. You have to have everyone available all the time. Who knows? It looks exciting next time by the sound of it... Never say never."
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand are currently level with Team Telefónica and five points behind second-placed PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG in the battle for podium places. Groupama have a 23-point lead at the top with just two in-port races and one offshore leg to go.
"We're just focusing on every in-port and the next leg, sailing the best we can sail," said Rae. "Yes, it would be fantastic to win the next leg but we'll be doing everything we can just to have some good results and finish well."