The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion as we wrapped-up the Velux 5 Oceans race and now consider what will be next for me and the rest of our clan. Since fighting to the finish in La Rochelle through heavy north Atlantic weather my life has quickly evolved from my offshore persona into my daddy persona and into my small business partner persona.
The finish ceremonies in La Rochelle were emotional as the extended Velux 5 Oceans family enjoyed a last few days together. Then, in what seemed like one day the family disbanded. Patianne Verburgh (Derek’s wife) left solo on Active House for Halifax. On the same tide cycle Chris Stanmore-Major motored out the gates of the basin in La Rochelle and pointed his boat toward England and his triumphant return celebrations. A day later Gutek got on an airplane headed for Poland and his newfound fame as Poland’s first solo circumnavigator. Finally, Le Pingouin headed off to sea with Jeffrey Wargo at the helm and our good friends Tim Eble and Brad Cavanaugh under his watchful leadership for the long delivery back to Charleston. The race management and media teams left with the Velux sponsorship team close behind as everyone headed for Paris to board flights to all corners of the world from which they came.
My wife, children and I boarded a train to Paris for a quick ascent of the Eiffel Tower and then one night in a hotel before getting on a flight to our home in Charleston. Now I sit in my living room while I catch up on land-based life and begin the process of considering what will be next for my career and life. It feels odd after being attached to Le Pingouin (LP) for more than a year and a half to be separated by an ocean as she works her way home. LP has been put on the market and as she waits her next date with destiny she and I will be doing some sailing to wrap up our responsibilities to sponsors. This will include sailing to Bermuda and up and down the east coast. We will be inviting sponsors old and new to participate in this “post-race tour” with perks such as offshore sail training, deliveries, and corporate hospitality events and sails in the markets we visit. There is a slim chance we will be returning to France for the double handed Transat Jacques Vabre in the fall, which is a hugely popular race counting 20+ entries in the last edition. While all this goes on, I will begin working toward a book project to share the experiences of my three solo circumnavigations with the world as well as doing some speaking engagements for corporations, clubs and conferences. There is of course that lingering question of continuing my competitive sailing career and there is no doubt that this will be a process. I simply can’t ignore what seems may be my calling in the form of offshore racing.
In the meantime, tinkering around the house for a couple of days and beginning the project of building the tree house I promised my children upon my return is way high on the priority list.
Thank you for being a part of this huge adventure!
Best for now,