So...from time to time we get emails to the boat, and I received one from my wife, Kathy, telling me that my brother, Brad, is playing the virtual Volvo Ocean Race Game on the web and doing pretty well. Brad is also sending the boat U.S. sports scores, so I asked him about how he is progressing with his little jaunt around the world from the comfort of his couch.
I preface this story by saying that he and I have a very good natured sarcastic streak in us very well embedded by our parents. In fact, it may come out the most when we have to introduce one another at a public function. What better way to show your love for your brother than by abusing him in front of hundreds of people. Well, in Newport [Rhode Island] about a month ago, just before I left for Alicante, I helped him by doing a presentation at a function to raise money for Sail Newport. In his introductory speech he came really close to stepping across the line. What did he say you may ask? Well, he announced the now well-known fact that I am the oldest person in the fleet (by two days over CAMPER crew member Tony Rae I might add). Was I a bit touchy about it at the time? Sure. And, Brad tossed me well under the bus.
So, now it is my turn.
Here comes the good part. He writes back to say that he was third out of the Med playing the virtual game, which is pretty amazing as I have heard that most of the country of China is playing it online. He is pretty proud of himself, I can tell. But, then he goes on to say how hard it was!!!!!!! Are you kidding me? Did you seriously write us on this boat and tell us that the Med was tough on you???? Seriously? The same stretch of water that took one mast and nearly sank another boat and pretty much tortured the rest of the fleet of sailors for about the first 30 hours of the race?
First things first. Brad, look in the mirror and notice no massive black circles under your eyes. You probably are not sun burned and caked with salt water. And, my guess is that you have washed your hair at least once in the last eight days. Throw in a gale in the Med, about 50 weather front crossings, 8,000 tacks (moving two tons of gear from side to side each time) and welcome to our world! How hard was it getting out the Med again?
Brad goes on to tell me that he is in about 12th place right now. I'm going to turn the tide now and ask – how the heck did you drop nine spots? Is it too hard?
And, finally the coup de gras. He says...and I quote..."Hasn't been that rugged on the sleep the last four days, but the first week was crazy! Up nearly all night a couple of times."
I'm speechless. I don't know what to say for the first time in my life. I will let the fans of the sailing world judge what they think of this "craziness" that you speak of. I have nothing further to say on this subject. Oh and by the way, we are racing, doing pretty well, life on board is good, Kelvin has a Marmo hat, and we are all growing mustaches in honor of Movember to support awareness of prostate cancer.
Hey Brad, this support of prostate cancer is important to me now since I'm so old! Maybe you should grow one as well?
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