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Sailing away

Sailing away

Last year, our Sales Director, Bob Little, set himself a challenge, and spent just under four weeks sailing across the Atlantic on a yacht originally built for the BT Global Challenge. As a ‘mildly experienced’ sailor, a voyage of this complexity was deliberately out of his comfort zone.

The voyage started from Rio in Brazil and ended up in the Azores, and was undertaken on the Elinca, a Challenge 67 yacht built in 1996. The professional skipper and mate were in charge of a crew of fifteen, which consisted of people from varying backgrounds and sailing abilities, all of whom luckily gelled very well as a team.

For the entire voyage, the crew was working for four hours on and four hours off.  The four hours on included taking the sails up and down, navigating and helming, and the four hours off consisted of tasks such as repairing the sails, general maintenance – and eating and sleeping.

Bob enjoyed helming, and also the navigating, which was a real challenge at night when it was undertaken purely by sight and by instruments. It was an incredible sight to glide past leviathan container vessels and the numerous oil platforms which dot the Atlantic, lit up like Christmas in the blackness. During the day, there were many sightings of dolphins and whales, and the sunsets over the ocean were spectacular.

He was less keen on changing the sails, particularly in the dark with waves spraying over the rigging. The lack of sleep and space was also challenging, with everyone being given a two foot square box to keep all their belongings in. The worst job, however, was the unpleasant but necessary task of cleaning out the toilet area . . . .

Bob found the achievement of pushing himself beyond his limits an immensely satisfying experience, and it also gave him a new perspective on his usual extremely busy life. Out in the middle of the Atlantic, wifi, computers, mobiles and deadlines felt unimportant, and he found the freedom exhilarating. But for now, it’s back to torque tools!

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