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11 April 2005, 12:29 pm
The Rhythm Of Life At Sea
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Oryx Quest 2005

Brian THOMPSON (GBR) and his Doha 2006 crew have feasted on fine food and enjoyed the celebrity of sailing the Qatar national entry safely around the planet and winning the race. Now they are all packing up their bags and heading home.
For THOMPSON it is back to the UK where his wife is expecting their first child. For the rest it is anywhere the wind blows and there is a large, high-tech yacht to be raced.

They will gather again in May for the prize giving in Doha to pick up their prize money and lay claim to the stunning Oryx Quest Trophy. Until then it is time to reacquaint themselves with friends, family and the traffic and jams of life on land. Later today comes that bittersweet moment when you zip up your seabag, look around you at the boat that has been your home for two months of tough sailing, and bid your friends a final farewell. It is not going to be easy.

There is something uniquely addictive about racing a boat around the world. It is about focus. Many of us do not realize just how chaotic our lives have become. It is only natural to accumulate things, but one by one each possession adds clutter to our daily lives. When you head out to sea for a lengthy period you leave behind most of those things. Your life suddenly becomes much more simple and very structured. There are watches to keep; meals to make and a boat to race. You also have a fixed goal; to race the boat as fast as you can and as safely as you can around the world. For many people having a very real and tangible goal is an exhilarating experience especially when you can see each day just how much progress you are making towards your final objective. The objective gives you focus and focus is a new and fresh feeling for many people.

Then there is also the simplicity. After two weeks at sea you suddenly realize that you can no longer remember any advertising jingles. The inside of your head is free from noise and it is an amazing sound. The fresh air and exercise, say nothing of no fatty foods and the odd homebrew, is good for your body, and the splendour of the open ocean is good for your soul. When the race ends, so does the rhythm of life at sea. You have to face life on land and as good as that sounds when you are in the middle of the ocean, it has it's own issues.

Re-entry is hard; only your crewmates know what you have been through and only they understand. It is perhaps obvious why professional sailors look immediately for the next race, the next challenge, the next focus. It is easier to keep sailing than it is to stop.

While the Doha 2006 crew head to the airport and jet off to new adventures, Tony BULLIMORE (GBR) and his team are stuck firmly in this adventure. Stuck may be the right word for they appear to be glued to the water. From midday until midnight Sunday they covered a measly 42 miles, not all of it in the right direction. The doldrum belt seems to have the boat in its damp and steamy embrace and Daedalus is going nowhere slowly. There is no log from BULLIMORE today. At the 0700 hours GMT poll on Monday morning Daedalus was 1,631 miles from the finish in Doha.

The Victorious Doha 2006 Crew

Skipper, Brian THOMPSON (GBR)
Navigator, Will OXLEY (AUS)
Watch Captain, Damian FOXALL (IRL)
Watch Captain, Thomas COVILLE (FRA)
Watch Captain, Jacques VINCENT (FRA)
Crew, Sharon FERRIS (NZL)
Crew, Karine FAUCONNIER (FRA)
Crew, Fraser BROWN (NZL)
Crew, Paul LARSEN (AUS)
Crew, Jonny MALBON (GBR)
Crew, Stan DELBARRE (FRA)
Bowman, Andy MEICKLEJOHN (NZL)
Bowman, Jonas WACKENHUTH (SWE)

Brian Hancock. Image, Daedalus:© Quest International Sports
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