Hello from Japan.
This is Kojiro Shiraishi, skipper of DMG MORI Global One.
I have been asked by many people what am I doing during these unpresented times of crisis, how is the team working at the moment. Here are some answers to these questions.
Last month I was in Portugal with the boat to do some training. The original schedule was to train one month from March to April in Cascais, Portugal, where the weather and wind condition is the best around this time of the year.
Unfortunately, the day after we arrived in Cascais, the Portuguese government and the French government announced the confinement procedures due to the COVID 19 virus spread.
Due to these procedures taken in place around the world, the team and I, decided to bring the boat back to France from Portugal and cut short the training.
I have then returned to Japan and have been training at home safely to prepare for the upcoming races.
In France, the DMG MORI Sailing team members have been working under strict rules. No more than a person in the yard, on the boat and in the office. Some crew members have been working at home doing remote work and carbon work.
We have a video meeting once a week to make sure all tasks are done and make sure everyone is in safe working conditions.
The upcoming schedule is still unknown. the races that were scheduled in May and June, The Transat CIC and the Transat New York – Vendee will most likely be cancelled or postponed but the IMOCA will probably organize a race in the Atlantic Ocean this summer.
As for the Vendee Globe, the organizing comity as announced the start will be scheduled on November 8th as usual.
Recently, I get asked about my confinement, because I can relate on the long sailing times I do when I’m sailing alone. The question I often get is, “Don’t you find yourself alone when doing a long sailing by yourself?”
The answer is very simple
“Not at all!”
Never have I felt loneliness in all the single-handed sailing I have done in the past, and spent my time enjoying the moment being on board. This is even true nowadays.
The longest sailing I have done, was my first single handed circumnavigation non-stop from Japan to Japan.
During this circumnavigation, I spent 176 days sailing, sometimes no one around me, in maybe a hundred or thousand kilometers around.
So, what is loneliness?
Loneliness is something that your mind is creating. It is not defined by the number of people surrounding yourself.
When I go sailing alone, you might think there is nothing, no one is around me. This is false. What around me is much stronger than anything else. There are my dreams, my hopes, my beautiful boat, the great memories I had with my team members, the rival boats, and of course my family and friends who are waiting for my return.
This is not called loneliness!
There is also one more thing in the oceans. This is death.
Because of death being very close to my environment, I feel the feeling of being alive even more.
When I come back to land from a long journey on board, I am grateful for the smallest things around me. An example is, when my glass of water isn’t moving on my desk or when the toilet doesn’t move. (Toilet on the boat moves constantly and is very uncomfortable)
I feel grateful for the smallest things that I might have not noticed if I wasn’t sailing.
When you are with friends having tea or working as usual, being able to do sports like before, this is when you realize the smallest things in your life was important. You cherish these moments.
When you feel bad, hurt, afraid, nervous or lonely, this is a sign of your heart.
Your true self sends you a sign that tells you that this is not right, you are not in the right direction.
When you do the right things, your true self will also tell you sign. This is the moment you are happy, you are enjoying things, you feel good.
Don’t you think this is the time to be your true self and listen to your heart?
The sailing sport I practice makes me talk to my inner self more than any other sports athlete. All the decisions are made by myself.
This is the reason why I need to have my inner compass (heart) at the best condition possible, or else I wouldn’t be able to make good decisions.
Like the spring water flows from the inside to the outside, my hopes and dreams always flows from the inside to the outside.
Even if there is lots of rain, spring water will always come out clear. This is because it flows from the inside to the outside.
The other day, I was able to go back to my origins. I walked on the beach of Kamakura, my birth city.
When I was a child, I always wondered what was hiding behind this vast ocean.
The ocean I saw this day was calm like it didn’t know what the world was experiencing.
At last, I was able to swing my Katana (sword) in my office or at home to practice the martial art of Iai-do. The real Katana makes you choose the right way. A single mistake and you injure yourself. This is how I practice my inner spirit.
So, to anyone wondering how our project of the Vendee Globe is doing? All the team members are doing great! We are doing what we are supposed to do to be able to accomplish our dream of the Vendee Globe.