Round the World Yacht Race 2004
So if I took part in the BT Global Challenge Round the World Yacht Race why was I going back to take part in the Global Challenge 2004? Well, as I wrote in ‘A Challenge Too Far?’ – my experience of the BT Global Challenge, we had a crash at the start of the Wellington to Sydney leg – dubbed ‘The Executive Leg’ as it only lasts 8-10 days – which took us out of that leg completely.
I wanted to know what it was like – I felt cheated not being able to have done it. So as we had not actually sailed the leg I was able to return four years later to experience what it was like, only this time I would be joining the crew not as ‘core crew’ but as a ‘legger’. On each race the crew is made up of 1 professional skipper, 15 core crew of whom 4 are women and they go the whole way round the world. Whoever sponsored the yacht can put 2 people on for each leg of the race as they will be learning leadership, development and man-management skills.
As core crew in 2000 we had worked hard to ensure that our ‘leggers’ were properly integrated into the crew – they were part of the crew and were given jobs to do that complimented their skills the same as everyone else on the crew.
So I was keen to get back to New Zealand in 2004 – such a phenomenal country – and to race this leg where I would see being part of a ‘crew’ from a very different perspective. Would the knowledge that I had from doing the Race in 2000 be welcomed or ignored? Would they utilise my skills or side-line me? Would I be regarded as ‘crew’ or ‘a legger’? I knew from the BT Global Challenge that every yacht despite being very ‘level’ in skills and knowledge worked very differently – just as many companies in the same industry do. It is how you treat the people that makes the difference every time.
Listen to Rona being interviewed just after sailing into Sydney on the Global Challenge 2004