Stefan Tieman reports from one of the old Global Challenge 72-footers

Hi everybody, this is Stefan from “Challenger1”!!

Just a few days until the race across the pond will kick off, and the excitement is eventually starting to build up!

So tonight’s the night to pack all that sailing gear lying scattered around in a city flat! And anybody who has ever been reminded by his skipper to bring “just those most necessary items” can imagine what this means: Perform that bit of Mary Poppins Magic in reverse, stuffing all those “indispensible” items into some miniscule space the size of a handbag. Good luck with that!

Swapping the ups & downs of the current turmoil in financial markets with the gently rolling waves of the Atlantic, I hear a lot of “I wish I could take part in this trip too!” from friends and colleagues. Well, maybe this forum will convey a bit of the spirit on that journey, “Pilgrim Fathers – Take 2” style. Yet, with “Challenger1” being a former BT Global Challenge boat with 72ft. of steel hull and rigid structure, it’s certainly less “Kontiki”, more “Volvo Ocean Race”. Arguably sailing downwind into the Caribbean doesn’t match the gruelling Southern Ocean.

But then, that’s not what any of the crew would expect anyway, I guess. Not having met the crew so far, it will be good fun to get to know each other. Our “only Swede”, as he introduced himself just recently in a first attempt to spark crew communication before the race, will add to the international spirit of the crew. And with some couples on board as well it should be a nice blend of a crew. This certainly is one of the reasons joining this boat myself. And my fellow German countrymen will forgive me if I say that English crew tend to be rather relaxed and put a bit more fun into sailing – and maybe Britain’s Olympic success will rub off on us as well!

Let’s hope that good ol’ Neptune sends cheerful dolphins to greet us, good winds from start to finish, a strong spinnaker to cope with the best of squalls, some so far undiscovered gourmet talent in the galley, and most importantly: cheers & laughter on the long way to St. Lucia, where the Piton Beer shall be waiting! I certainly have packed enough of games, books, and my favourite little espresso machine to make this a great trip, relaxing journey and experience of a lifetime!

Hey, and if you want to be part of this race accross the pond, why not visit and sponsor a few miles of this race! It’s for charity and helps disadvantaged kids & teens to set sail and chart a better course in life!

Happy sailing & stay tuned