Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I have hundreds of children

I have hundreds of children
Yes I have to admit, after all of these years I must come clean and tell the truth.
Children, so many I can’t even count, my god what did I do.
It’s not hard to explain, but important that I finally recognize, and give them due.
They were all orphans, young in spirit every one of them, and a dream and desire.
This energy is so strong when I see it, I can’t help myself but to adopt them.
Like all children they start from a beginning, they try and test the boundaries every day as they, grow, change and develop into...................something.
Something, you say, yes I can only explain it as something, well something different than what they started out as with me.
You see my children over the years, have come and gone, some stayed for longer, but always they leave.  When they leave I am normally sad, but proud that I have been able to give, given to them something very real, something tangible and hopefully something very useful for so many parts of their future life.
I laugh at times when I think back to the many, the times of their joy at learning, the magic at seeing their faces come alive when theory is put into reality. I see their frustration and anger when their minds or their bodies don’t do what the lessons explained to be.
When they are tired I let them sleep, in their deep deep sleeps that only children can do, I pick them up when they stumble and fall. When they are sick I nurse then and bring them back to health, stitch their wounds and wipe their nose. Ah the pleasure it gives me when I re-live their faces.
They have been bad, and good, smart and stupid, devious and cunning, and they always come thinking they can rule the world, I love this naive arrogance that comes with youth. Ah, but they have taken a crafty old father to help them along, there’s not many tricks that I haven’t seen, but I am always stay open to seeing a new trick or two, but their games don’t last too long before I see through the smoke.
Every moment is a chance at learning, from dawn to dusk, and all through the night. They wake me at all hours with questions and demands, in my sleep I can answer most of them, but it’s me that they want to soften the blows when its knocking on their doors.
Like most youth, the more that you give, the more that they want, when you get to your limits and your down on your strength, they don’t recognize it at all, they just expect and demand more. My god they can tear you a part.
The game of learning is a game for both, you teach to their ability and their knowledge, let them practice and be pleased, then recommence the next steps of the game, push them at times when the game gets quite fierce, let them relax and be at ease when there’s time to just shoot the breeze.
There are rules to this game, but they should never be too complex, the art of all games, is to teach simplicity. There’s not a subject or a task that cant get broken down in parts, keep it simple and don’t be stupid, wise teachers never do.
So my children you have heard me speak, I am proud to have been a father to you all, whether it has been for a day, or many years that some have stayed, you have all given me something to think, something that has stretched me once more and that has rewarded me with pleasure and new life perspectives.
A true father I may never be, but I think that the role I have played has been ample for my days, but that role may never finish, I hope my wisdom continues to grow.
Stephen and my life time of crew

Every mile can be torture

Every mile can be torture
Sailing around Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn puts every boat and sailor at their limits. Being used it the area since my first rounding of the "Horn" in 2000 just hopefully makes me a smarter and safer sailor, I can't remember how many times I have sailed around it, but I know it's a lot.
Our first season project to take famous French sailor Franck Cammas down to Cape Horn because his dream was to sail a hydrofoil catamaran through this notorious waters, he had a sponsor, Julbo and they created a competition to find a lucky novice to sail it with Franck, Johannes a nice German guy.
The planning commenced, and the weeks and months rolled by, and finally the team and the boats came south.
What may seem like a simple route and logistics, is actually quite a political nightmare, people and equipment arriving in different countries on different times, having come from different places just screws the wheels of motion up. Having a catamaran that is foreign and not actually registered, is a major pain to get customs clearance, and most importantly the Chileans to agree to allow to sail this  part of the world.
On an average season in the south there are normally 1 to 3 visiting boats that are lost in these waters, wreaked, sunk or torn apart, when its ferocious, it's really mean around here.
The voyage and miles to Cape Horn from where we started is approximately 125 nautical miles,  or 230 kilometres, but you need to take Xplore which is the support boat and accommodation plus a fast enough Zodiac  that can keep up with the Catamaran that is capable of 31 knots there, and back.
From Argentina to Chile and the weather windows are not looking good, small but changing so fast that is just about any persons guess as to what going to happen. We headed south and looked to the sky's and barometer for opportunities.
One morning before departure from a southern anchorage prior to the cat sailing I overheard Johannes ask Franck if they should take some warm water and a towel for their hands before they left the beach, Franck's reply was short and to the point "You have to learn to suffer" and that was the end of the conversation.
Yes Franck and Johannes did complete a full circumnavigation of the Horn and continued to sail the long haul back to Puerto Toro immediately after, that's about a 100 nautical mile day on a fast but wet and powerful catamaran, well done guys !
My team on Xplore and the film and support crews were amazing, we drank to success.