The last time I wrote I was in the Azores having sailed from Bermuda, and now here I am in Copenhagen, continuing what has clearly become a very bad habit. But before I begin....it has been a wonderful summer, at least for some of us. It began in late May with the start of the Cricket World Cup, a quadrennial event, this year hosted in the UK.
The World Cup was a fabulous tournament, 10 international teams, England, Australia, NZ, South Africa, West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, which meant a match every day, starting at 5:30am local time from the beginning on May 28 until the Final on July 14. The cricket format was One Day cricket, a 50 Over game and this year’s tournament was reckoned the best ever held. The Final between NZ and England ended in a tie, the first time ever, requiring a Super Over, also ending in a tie, England ultimately being awarded the title based on a superior record of Boundry runs. If this all sounds a little arcane for non-cricket fans, I understand, I’m not a sports writer, but it did focus attention every day for 7 weeks.
Immediately following the World Cup was the Tour de France, my most anticipated sporting event of the year and this year was one of the best in recent memory. Again, for non-followers, the Tour is a team sport, not individual riders racing, although the teams are set up to maximize the opportunities for individual team members to out-race opponents. It is the quintessential sporting example of coopetition at work, riders co-operating with competing riders to take turns at the front allowing opponents to slipstream behind them before changing places and then attacking to leave the others behind and be first at the finish. It is supremely strategic as tactical decisions are constantly made and changed as the dynamics of the race change. This year 22 teams of 8 riders each took part, which meant 176 riders started the first stage and on the final stage into Paris 155 riders survived to finish. It is, undoubtedly, the single hardest, most demanding and intense, organized international sporting event. Over the course of the Tour the riders covered 3600K, on occasion in the Alps and in the Pyrenees, climbing grades of 13 or 14 degrees to heights rising to over 2800 metres. They race every day for 3 weeks with 2 rest days over that period, covering between 125 and 300 kilometres a day and reaching speeds of 90+kph on the mountain descents, utterly unimaginable!
The Tour finished last Sunday which left me just enough time to pack my bags and catch my plane on Wednesday for here, Copenhagen, to await Blue Clipper. Why? ...a reasonable question.
After our return from the Azores son James, 37 years old, who works in Corporate Finance, buying and selling companies, joined us for dinner and in the course of chatting about the trans-Atlantic sail, said that he’d love to join me on one of these adventures. The thought being father of the deed, I checked the next morning and found that Blue Clipper was planning a 2 week Scandinavian sail from Aarhus in Denmark to Stavanger on the Norway coast, via Sweden. Since J’s very tight time window fitted precisely with Clipper’s plans, it felt fated and so I committed to the trip and am here in Copenhagen awaiting J’s arrival tomorrow. In the meantime I plan to spend a couple of days exploring Copenhagen which I have not visited since the business trips I made here before my retirement.
Stay tuned, more to come!