Drawing a line

Monday 14 October 2013
Its been four days off the boat. Time to catch up with “normal”life again. Read news, check emails, sleep, drink, eat and especially party in abundance. Nowhere a better place than in Rio. Its an amazing place. The cityscape bears resemblance with Hong Kong with the steep hills right in town – but the beaches are much nicer!! The last few days saw me partying on the roof of the Favelas, shout with football fans, paraglide over the tropical forest, eat more meat than ever and chill on the famous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. Having lived off less then 2 liters water for two weeks, its now more a diet of beer and caiprinha (man are these cocktails strong!!).
The Clipper boats have left on Saturday afternoon in spectacular fashion towards Cape Town. I was watching from my deckchair (coconut in hand), as they tacked along the Rio beachfront. Man, for a moment I wished I was on the boat again!
It has been a tough stopover for the crew – just two days for buy new provisions and make repairs, especially on the watermaker. Very little time to recharge batteries (actually none), as Skipper Vicky was giving out very very little spare time for the crew members – I wish she would learn that its sometimes wise to give your crew some breathing space…. well, I wish them all the best for their journey to cape town!!
As for myself, its time to go back to Hong Kong to plan new adventures! The details of achievement of this trip, the successes as well as hardships will take a few weeks to sink in. In the meantime I made a list of what I have learned on this trip – in no particular order and definitely not exhaustive:
  • The competitiveness of a race crew depends a lot on your skipper. Just like in business, if your manager doesn’t want to achieve a certain goal or isn’t very focused on it, its very difficult for the team to do so. Sadly skipper Vicky was more interested in “just making it” rather then aiming to reach higher. A frustration that still will take me some time to overcome.
  • The hardships of the ocean is a great place to make new friends – on this note special thanks to my newly found Italian friends, who enhanced this trip not just on the culinary side but also provided the fun and relaxedness in times of discontent to make it a great experience. I hope we can do soon a trip again!
  • The Expendables were the best bow crew (ever) !
  • Whales are not just great to watch, they can be very dangerous animals – in particular when they breach a mere 30metres in front of your boat
  • Running out of fresh water in the middle of an ocean is not a cool thing. However I was surprised to see how well we coped with just 2 liters by day.
  • Flying a spinnaker into Rio harbor, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Jesus Christ statue looking at you ranks as one of the most memorable sights of my life.
  • Drinking tons of beer & Caiprinhas right after you have touched land does not enhance your working (=cleaning) capabilities – very importantly: Don’t try to shave after such an extensive influx of alcoholic beverages!
  • A wrap is better consumed as food, but definitely not experienced with a Spinnaker
  • Sleeping in fourty degrees is not possible and if it is, it causes the weirdest dreams ever.
  • Constant sleep depraviation has some interesting side effects – the strangest that you think you are awake all the time, even in your dreams…
  • I don’t need any Tune & Sweetcorn for the next few years
  • One cannot buy too much Nutella for an ocean crossing – and one bottle of olive oil is definitely not sufficient either. To be fair however Vitelling (ie buying food) for an ocean crossing must be the worst job ever…
  • There is a different interpretation for the word “Ease” between the bowcrew and the cockpit. The commando “Pull” sounds too similar to my own name when shouted – Confusion guranteed!
  • Four weeks of complete news blackout – and nothing has really changed. Makes you wonder why we spend so much time each day checking news, worrying about stuff that has to tangible impact on life.
On this note – a special thanks to all my supporters and everybody that has encouraged me onto this trip. Thanks also to everybody who supported dZi!! For all of you who are reading this and still want to support (remember all donations are doubled) – please go to: http://www.justgiving.com/paulacrosstheatlantic
Thanks !!!
Some people have asked me – would I do it again: Theres not a straight answer to that question – I definitly would want to cross an ocean again, ideally with a crew of friends and at my own pace. Going on an ocean race again…only to win!

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