Towards the end of my practicum, professional sailor, and Mustang Survival Brand Ambassador, Emily Nagel visited Mustang Survival and talked about her experience of racing a sailboat around the world for the Volvo Ocean Cup. I grew up sailing with my family, but have never done anything close to what she accomplished: 45,000 nautical miles in 9 months, on a boat with no running water. She talked about why she did it, and how she did it. It was an extremely interesting and inspiring story.
This is a picture of her team arriving at one of the checkpoints. On the brutal side of things, she said: “there’s a lot of sacrifices.” When on board, food is simple, and gear is minimal. Each bag of food can’t weigh more than 25 kilos and must fit food for 10 people for 2 days per each bag. All of the food and gear is stored on one side of the boat to maximize speed, and every time the boat tacks, all of the gear has to be moved to the other side of the boat. Her crew contained 8 people and each of them shared a shift of 4 hours that would rotate indefinitely: 4 hours on, 4 hours off. In that 4 hours of off time, she said you would have to eat, organize your gear and try to maximize the amount that you slept in order to be ready for the next shift. As well as the conditions on board, she said the injury was fairly common. “Rather than resting, sometimes you have to just swallow a shit-load of pain killers and get on with it.” Though the rough times of pain, and conditions such as 10+ meter tall waves, and things such as the mast which broke on the boat, it’s a brutal mental and physical battle. She says, however, “the reason I wanted to do this is that it was my childhood dream. It absolutely terrified me, but if something isn’t challenging, it’s not a challenge.” With high risk comes high reward. She says “we’re aware of the risk, but we still go out and do it because we believe it’s worth it.” She said it’s the small victories that keep her sane. “This was my childhood dream, there was so much excitement.”
The day After this, on the last day of my Practicum, she went to Jerhico with us and we did a product shoot with a professional filmer an photographer. I didn’t make it on the sailboat this round, but I still got a behind the scenes look at what a filming/photography production was like, which was a super valuable experience. Overall, my practicum was a blast. My mentors were incredibly inspiring people to be around and really helped me to progress my ideas, skills, and designs. For anyone thinking of working at Mustang Survival for their practicum or other, I would highly recommend.