Offshore Yachting : April May 2008
SKIPPER 44 | offshore storm when a shroud came loose. She had to climb up in the mast to repair it. Luckily, she succeeded as two days later she capsized. The strong fibreglass boat righted itself, and James wondered if her rig would endure the even tougher conditions at the Horn. She decided to turn back to New Zealand, but reversed her decision a day later. After all, the boat had endured this far... Still scared by the force of the ocean but determined that carrying on was the right thing to do, James passed Cape Horn without seeing it, and sailed to the Falklands where she stopped for the second and last time for necessary rig repairs. Looking back now, James admits it felt right at the time to do the circumnavigation. But she also says would never ever undertake the hazardous, record- breaking voyage again. "No, why would I do that?" says James. "People continue to ask me that but it is a stupid question, don't you think? Afterwards, I realised it was crazy. I was never afraid of doing it, and did not need to pass a barrier, nor to overcome anything at all." James just had to do it. If she had not strolled on a French quay one day and met Rob James and later on Chay Blyth, for both of whom ocean sailing was a totally normal thing to do, she probably would have done something equally challenging, but not at sea. She explains it as a coherent action, as a chain of logical elements leading to just that. It took her many years of studies to realise that. Today, James has a PhD in philosophy, and is elaborating a therapy with roots in her sailing experience. "I am trying to develop a philosophical therapy," she explains. "It is very difficult and I am trying to find a model for a common sense approach to find a way through the clutter in everyone's life." In simple terms, James' method is founded on her circumnavigation and the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, the topic of her doctoral thesis. "If you do something as extreme as I did, so unnecessary, and you survive and it was a good experience, when you grow older you want to understand why. When you grow up as I did, you don't know it is strange; you think that is the way it should be until you meet other people. Then your shortcomings become obvious. For example, I don't get along with people but I am interested and want to understand them. That's why I studied everything that is a part of the human being, such as quantum physics, neurology, psychology ... My education was part of the process which I work on right now." James grew up on an isolated farm far from the sea in New Zealand with her parents, two sisters and a brother. Far from any neighbours, James James leaving dock to sail around the world onboard Express Crusader Alastair Black/PPL "If you do something as extreme as I did, so unnecessary, and you survive and it was a good experience, when you grow older you want to understand why."
February March 2008
June July 2008