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Letter from Switzerland: Back to North America

November 5, 2001
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Hello All,I hope everyone had a great Easter, and a even better long weekend. I’m back in Geneva from The Western Hemisphere Starboat regatta in Nassau, Bahamas.I will remember this trip to Nassau for a few reasons, and none of them aresailing related.

First, my flight is supposed to take 11 hours. Nineteen hours later I arrived in beautiful Nassau. Unfortunately they didn’t send my luggage. An hour later after sorting out where they would send my bags, I realize that my lift has left. So I hail a cab and off we go. The only problem is my hotel info is in my lost bag. So three hotels with similar names later I’m in my room.

Now there is one little problem, I was planning on asking my girlfriend to marry me on this trip. You guessed it, the ring is in the lost bag. No worries, right? Miami airport and Nassau airport are safe places. So three days later I receive my bag. YES, the ring is there, thank god. But, unfortunately they stole all my sun glasses and a few shirts. So the battle begins anway with the Swiss airlines.

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Yes, there was a regatta, too. We arrived at the registration and found out that they are weighing in the competitors. The problem is we are 22 pounds over weight. So off to the sauna. No, really we were off to the sauna. Two hours later I had lost 13 pounds, and my skipper had shed 8 pounds. With a little swaying left and right on the scale we measured in. To tell you the truth I was liking the lightweight look. I was all set for the beach the next day. Unfortunately, the weight came back over night. I guess it was just a glimpses of what may come after further training in Geneva.

I can tell you one thing for sure. Sailing in Nassau is tremendous–30 degrees Celsius, crystal clear water, and a steady 15 knots daily. The Bahamians really showed us all a great time. We had traditional dinner parties and a visit to Sir Durwood Knowles’s home for cocktail. For any of you who don’t know Sir Knowles. He is only the most decorated sailor in history, and at 80 years young he can still hold a crowd with all those war stories.

Unfortunately my regatta was cut short due to a death in the family. My grandfather in his 100th year passed away. He was a former Olympian and the true patriarch of our family, and he’ll be deeply missed.

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I arrived back in Geneva on Sunday with a huge bag of laundry, ready to start my week. Back to the gym for our famous workouts, and yes, I still can’t be stretched inside out comfortably. But you know what? I actually missed our trainer, Mr. JP Eggar?

I lost my rental car before leaving on the Nassau trip. So now I’m moving via physical transport–MY BIKE. The only thing wrong with this is it rains daily, and 265 pounds on a bike is taxing (for the bike that is). Can you say CAR DEALERSHIP? (Does anyone have Swiss auto contacts?)

We sailed Tuesday–10 races in 6-degree weather and 12 knots of breeze. Not Nassau conditions, but as all sailors know, any sailing is good sailing. I did tactics and jumped the halyards at the mast, as well as dragging the chute in at the leeward marks. We had a great debriefing session at the end, and then it was off to my apartment for some dinner. Unfortunately most of my food spoiled during my last trip. I realized this after dinner.

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On Wednesday I did the race committee duty for the match races, as well as taking notes for the debriefing. I can honestly admit that I was a little nervous offering my critiques after sailing with the forum I had. (All of the top dogs in sailing.) But I think I managed not to embarrass myself too much.

NO, I did not forget the most important item of the last week. Seychelle Harding has agree to marry me. Hip hip, hooray………. Can you say “luckiest man alive”. Thanks Seychelle

Like I said at the outset, I’ll remember this year’s trip to Nassau for reasons that don’t relate to sailing at all.

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Good winds to all,

Kai Bjorn

Grinder

AC 2003

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