The Start Line -- Cape Town, South
Africa (03 January 2009)
Mountain loomed from across the bay. Helicopters buzzed
overhead. Spectator boats swarmed around the sidelines.
There is definitely excitement in the air as we surge towards
the start line, and we're definitely not going to be crossing
it alone. In 15 seconds, the start gun will fire and hopefully
our bow will be one of the first to point westward towards
This is the start of the longest single-ocean yacht race
in the world with over 3600 nautical miles of deep, blue
South Atlantic ocean water separating South Africa from
Brazil. It is the 2009 Heineken Cape to Bahia Race.
is an emotional experience to race under the shadow of Table
Mountain - one of those moments in your life you never thought
you'd see, and as we hang all our weight over the rail and
over the green water of Table Bay, we can't keep the smiles
off our faces. Are we really here? Is this really happening?
The clock ticked down and with a bang, the naval ship positioned
at the start line fired its cannon. Loud cheering came from
each boat as it passed over the line and set sights towards
the west. This is it! Brazil here we come!
The Stopover -- Jamestown, St. Helena (13 January
my previous blog described, St. Helena is a quiet place
and while it suited me just fine, it was described as boring
by others and considered unsuitable for a longer stay. Boring?!
Is there not a giant set of stairs to keep us entertained?
Are the waters not warm and clear? Is there not interesting
shrubbery and faunae to examine? This led to my latest philosophical
There are no boring places. Just easily-bored people.
The Finish Line -- Salvador de Bahia, Brazil (26
The following 12 days dragged on a little as light winds
engulfed the entire fleet, and not even our largest coloured
sails could raise our spirits greatly. Our greatest consolation
lay in fresh fish, which were plentiful and delicious.
Finally, on the 26th, we crossed the finish line (2nd place
on Line Honours) with a great upwind reach into the bay
amid fireworks, a chase boat and a nice gathering of race
organizers, journalists, and well-wishers waiting on the
dock and handing us beers and caipirinhas.
I suppose if one is to consider the world's oceans as one
united body of water, I have now sailed across it. Cowabunga!
But overall, I am now 91% towards fulfilling my goal of
sailing around the world with 3 oceans complete. Only 3000-odd
miles lie between me and my personal finish line at 77 Degrees
West in the Caribbean Sea.
The adventure is nearly over, and thank goodness; I am
However, the ocean still keeps calling me back. Not long
after the mooring lines are tied to the dock, I find myself
looking back out to the open ocean, which I feel accepts
my shortcomings and makes me feel strong no matter how weak
I get. The ocean makes me feel good for being me, and I
can be as imperfect or foul-mooded or wrong any old time
and never get called on it. The ocean never gives me advice
when I just want it to listen.
finish line is getting close. I'm ready for it. I'm ready
to come home to Canada. And when I do, I'll be ready for
a big salad with chick peas in it, a pitcher of lemonade,
a McDonald's milkshake (vanilla flavour) and lots of corn
on the cob, please.
Ciao from Brazil, Stay tuned!