AS THE FIRST BOATS FINISH THE 1998-99 AROUND ALONE RACE...
BJ Caldwell writes...
Cape Town...my heart still aches to think of the most remarkable city
in the southern hemisphere. To mingle with such a diversity of culture,
to shake hands with somebody knowing I should probably say my goodbyes
at the same time, broke my heart a thousand times.
You promise you will be back one day, but how can you be sure? You can never be sure what lies over the horizon. As Giovanni Soldini would say "This is the life of the single-handed sailing hero!"
My parents ruined me long before my eyes took in the spectacle of the 'tablecloth' spilling over Table Mountain. In growing up cruising in the South Pacific, I'd grown accustomed to no sooner meeting someone than saying goodbye. But in turn learning to appreciate everything in life, there are no real goodbyes, because we are one.
The only justification I had in shouldering aside the diamonds (ports) I blandly branded 'pit-stops', was that in becoming the 'youngest' to circumnavigate, it would enable me to find a sponsor to build an Open 50 and return.
To think of those racers now arriving in Cape Town brings home thoughts of rounding the cape with my soul-mate - the Contessa 26, Mai Miti Vavau.
I'll never forget a day on Table Mountain with my compatriot single-hander - Dong S. Kang (First Korean to Solo Circumnavigate). It was the halfway or antipodal mark of both our circumnavigations...And the South Atlantic ahead looked so devoid of the treasure we'd discovered in Durban, the Transvaal Coast, safari and the smiles of a people only now discovering the word freedom...the friendliest people in the world.
South African Neal Peterson is an attestment to the 'Power of One'. Proof that if you put your mind to something, anything is possible.
To the students following the Around Alone who aspire to do the same, or even a non-sailing dream, hold onto your intent no matter the adversity in your path.
In becoming the 'World's Youngest Solo Circumnavigator' and crossing an ocean with my mentor Bruno Peyron, I can say with great certainty that dreams come true!
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Last Modified: Friday - 19990205.15:44 HST