I feel rude having not formally introduced Karla properly however the entire situation of crew has been all a bit raw.
2 days before the start of the ARC 2017, before sailing 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, we were seriously let down by a crew mate. It was such a blow, especially given the short notice. I think we were all a bit in shock for a few hours and then like a sprinkle of serendipity this young woman was standing on the floating pontoon asking if we needed crew.
Now, we’ve always said that we’d never sail with a random and in Gran Canaria you are literally approached and asked about 4 times a day if crew are needed and throughout our whole 5 weeks there we turned away many hopefuls. Now a little piece of each us were considering it.
Stu, Jason and I had agreed that we’d be happy to do it, just the 3 of us however the pros of having that 4th person really outweighed the cons. The only con in my head was “what happens if they become a psycho mid transatlantic?” The pros would be; literally more hands on deck, having someone help out on night watch, day-to-day chores such as cleaning, cooking, rig checking etc and also for the dynamic - 4 is always are more rounded number. We also of course have the space as we have 3 cabins, so the plan was for each crew member to have their own cabin and then obviously Jason and I have ours.
About 3 hours after Karla had scribbled down her number and her relevant experience we called her back to the yacht for a cold beer and chat. We had an hour or so to suss her out and asked all the questions. She seemed lovely and harmless, up for doing a night watch shift on her own, had previous off shore sailing experience, seemed level headed and not too needy / afraid, she came across as a doer, proactive person that didn’t mind getting her hands dirty and finally as with most people hoping to catch a lift across the pond, she was prepared to pay her share for provisioning and crew entry fee into the ARC. We agreed that we would all sleep on it and speak in the morning.
With only a few hours left to check-out of Gran Canaria, check-out of the EU and slip our lines to sail it was a mutual decision that Karla would join us as our 4th crew member :)
Allow me to introduce Karla, an inspirational young woman from Germany hitchhiking her way to South America. Her background, her motivation and her life goals are fascinating. Karla studied Nutrition, Home Economics & has a Masters in Food Science. When she told us this, I thought “Great, another person to help invent and prep meals!”. She found herself in a Quality management position within the dairy sector, where she got so caught up in company politics, conservative thinking and witnessing a significant amount of waste, just for “quality” purposes. During her trip to Namibia and South Africa last year, all these things became negatively enhanced, especially compared to the thousands of people who are starving in the world. She decided to rethink her purpose in life. Then during her trip to the Caribbean last year, she met inspirational people, particularly a Finnish guy who is sailing and cycling around the world. Karla decided to prepare for a break in her career, she wanted to do something meaningful, help the environment, the world instead of witnessing significant waste within the dairy industry. Her rough plan was to sail across the Atlantic, find her way to Central America and then cycle to Columbia, Chile and then travel to Argentina and Brazil. It’s not set in stone and she’s excited by what opportunities may arise during her journey.
Karla arrived on the boat the morning of the 19th November, the day we were leaving. With just a 19kg backpack! I thought we had done well condensing our life onto a boat a fraction of the size of our home back in Beaconsfield. I must say, the process of downsizing, moving home and relocating to a different county was therapeutic. It’s amazing how little you actually need to be content. I love knowing that everything has it’s little place on our boat and that everything we possess in our new home is needed, useful, required. No junk, no hoarding, no waste. It disturbs me when I look back at how much “stuff” we had.
It’s been a crash course in getting to know each other during the last 12 days. We’ve experienced many lows and many highs together. We’ve planned, taught, learnt, laughed, cried, shouted, overcome, persevered, encouraged, talked and listened. I didn’t realise how strong minded and ballsy you have to be to cross the Atlantic, I didn’t realise how mentally and physically challenging it would be. I’m just thankful we took a chance on Karla and it’s worked out for us all.
I truly believe now that everything happens for a reason, while one door closes another one will open.