“It was a beautiful moment all round”

15 September 2014

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The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race produces some unique, memorable and highly exciting moments during the eleven-month adventure.

We caught up with some of the crew members fresh from taking on Mother Nature during the world’s longest yacht race and will feature their memorable moments over the next few weeks.

Today’s feature comes from Roser Preuss.

Best Moment:

Winning the Hobart to Brisbane race! It had been so close all along - and we had been third (behind OneDLL and Derry~Londonderry~Doire - I believe) most of the way up to Brisbane.

The last 24 hours were very intense, with kites ripping on some of the other boats and everyone trying to find more speed (and tossing up between going inshore or offshore). The boats in front went further off shore than us, which meant they had to gybe and gave us that small edge over them. None of us could believe that we had won. Up until then we had never even been on the podium!

Most Challenging Moment: Probably pulling one of the Yankees back on board in the Southern Ocean, after a wave swept it overboard. It was in the worst storm (and the height of it as well) that we ever experienced. We got an 'all hands on deck' call, shortly after which the boat was hoved to. Below deck we didn't know what had happened (I wondered whether it was a MOB? Or a shroud had given?) We got dressed as soon as possible and ran on deck to help on the foredeck to retrieve, unhank and then store the sail below deck!

Best Wildlife Moment:

Being followed by nine or so pilot whales while we were flying the lightweight spinnaker and making very slow progress (3-4 knots boat speed). In between them some dolphins were jumping around. We later learnt that the two easily make friends.

And half a mile or so away from the boat we spotted a sperm whale and her calf. They came closer to the boat, so we changed course and in doing so slowed the boat down even further. The pilot whales didn't realise and nearly ran into us! We could also hear the dolphins and whales below deck.

It was a beautiful moment all round.

Most Unique Moment:

Sailing past Gough Island in the South Atlantic/ Southern Ocean on the way from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town. We spoke to around six research scientists who are based on the island via VHF. They are stuck there for a year at a time, without any contact to other human beings. It was unreal to speak to them out there and moreover to be invited for a cup of tea.Such a shame we had to decline the offer!

Biggest achievement:

Safely finishing the circumnavigation - both as an individual and together with the crew of Switzerland! I think the circumnavigation speaks for itself.

‘Why am I doing this?’ moment:

Probably every race start day when the tensions were high and 'it all starts over again'... when the boat heals over, the bilges and grey tanks give the most revolting smell off them (after having stood still in port for too long), everyone is exhausted and I get seasick!

‘This is why I’m doing this!’ moment:

Once I get over the seasickness, the sailing conditions are great, everyone settles into a routine and the atmosphere on the boat is great!

Funniest moment:

Waking up our skipper Vicky and faking that we had missed the start of the Ocean Sprint in Race 13 (Jamaica to New York). I have never seen her get out of her bunk so fast and then swear at me! I was anything between laughing my head off and fearing for my life! But it surely provided a lot of entertainment in retrospect (after I had clarified that we still had 8 miles or so to go.)

Craziest moment:

The craziest moment has probably been the one night watch on the way up to New York where we suddenly saw three faint lights on the horizon (the three leading boats) - which then became bigger and bigger - and we parked up next to the leading boats. It was so surreal! They had been stuck in that wind hole for much longer. We then all battled it out to find wind and start moving again and we managed to overtake one or two of them. That whole race was such close racing, it was very exciting!

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