Just before PSP Logistics finished Race 11 (and he started hammering various bits around the boat!), we caught up with one of our round the worlders Derek Brown (Dekka), a Solution Manager from Sydney, Australia.
One of your biggest fans/supporters on the race is your daughter Charlotte who has been to many of the stopovers. What do you think she will take away/remember in years to come of your Clipper Race experience?
Some of her highlights were meeting the boats at Cape Town, Qingdao and San Francisco. The best moment would have to be the night we sailed into Sydney Harbour and another boat approached us and we all heard a voice call out "Hi Dad.” It was Charlotte on the bow waving to us just on close to midnight with very little wind. PSP Logistics was gliding through the water heading towards Bradley's Head where the whole of Sydney and Charlotte was there to welcome the crew.
In Qingdao, she was not sure about her Chinese experience as she was constantly being photographed and having her hair touched (it seems Chinese people are not used to girls having wavy hair). We were even interviewed after the welcoming ceremony and Charlotte, to her credit, answered their questions very well and was very patient as she had been in Hong Kong then China for 5 days waiting for dad to arrive.
I actually asked Charlotte what she thought was the best thing we did in San Francisco the other day. She surprised me by saying it was seeing me and saying I was the best dad in the world. I love her very much and you can see why it breaks my heart each time we say goodbye at the end of the stopovers she comes to.
Having her on my side, especially when you do hit the lows, and the simplicity of what she says inspires you to continue: "it's your dream to sail around the world and so you must finish it.”
I would hope that what she takes from this is that if you dream it you can do it, anything is possible in life.
In your pre-race questionnaire, you thought the hardest part of the trip would be the mental challenge of getting through the highs and lows. Looking back to date, what has been your most memorable high and toughest low to overcome?
High - That is hard. As winning in Rio with such a close finish between us and Jamaica Get All Right was a great high; finishing in Sydney in the dead of night was very special; but my most memorable moment would have to be the Ocean Sprint in the Southern Ocean. Firstly, we won the sprint by a country mile and we set a new speed record for 24 hours that still stands with only 3 months to go. Secondly, it was my birthday on that day which made the sprint even more valuable to me and the team. I remember thanking the whole crew for making it one of my best birthdays ever (though Charlotte buying me a Spiderman cake for my birthday the year before was pretty good!)
Low - Probably the one thing that has most affected me has been missing my family. Both my wife Suzie and daughter Charlotte have been following me the whole way and have felt both my highs and lows throughout this race. Several times I have contemplated quitting, but each time either Suzie or Charlotte has reminded me as to why I took on this challenge in the first place. Every time they have told me how proud they are of me doing this race. I don't think you could ask for more in a family. It has certainly made me realise more than ever how important they both are to me and how proud I am of them having to deal with day to day life without me being there. I am certainly looking forward to getting home and starting the next chapter in our lives.