Having finished his first Oyster World Rally, Ruedi Brunnhofer signed up for his second one almost immediately. The second time around, he upgraded his Oyster 54-18 In Flagranti (bought for his first OWR) to a new 575-36 (called Inflagranti) for the second with only a little space between the two circumnavigations – in time and spelling! In both cases, the handover was completed just six months before departure, but Ruedi’s learning curve has been steeper than most.
“I was a completely new sailor with no experience at all when I ordered my Oyster. It was learning by doing. On the first rally, I had to pay so much attention to the boat I was always thinking more about what we were doing than where we were. That is the main reason I am going again, to enjoy all the places we visited the first time! I only learned of the Oyster World Rally after I signed the contract for the boat. I decided I wanted to sail and chose Oyster – I was just going to go to cruise in the Mediterranean but then everything came together,” he explains.
“I am not an extreme adventurer, more the safety-orientated type! But it felt like now or never, with the reassurance that with the organisation and the support I wouldn’t be alone with the yacht if there was a problem. With what I’ve learned on the way, now I would be happy to go alone, but I’m happy there was the second edition of the Oyster World Rally! Also, my son decided to come with me - his studies finished just as the rally was starting, so as well as a family it was to be a father-son experience.”
“I had only been motor boating on a Swiss lake before, I’d not even sailed dinghies but I got my offshore licence thanks to a fellow Swiss entry, Thomas Meseck, when we sailed with him on the handover delivery of his 575-10 Satika. My own yacht handover was at the end of June, so we sailed to the Baltic with an RYA instructor for three weeks. My son spent a couple of months at the RYA school in Gibraltar before joining us for the ARC.”
“For the ARC, we took an experienced crew, so when we arrived in Antigua, we were able to do most things on our own. On both rallies, I used a weather router for any passage over five or seven days. The forecasts were very precise and there were times with winds of 50 knots and six to eight-metre waves – pretty scary but it gave me confidence that Oyster yachts really work, and we were never in a critical situation.”
“When did I decide to go again? More or less immediately – you see, I don’t think of myself as a sailor, I love travelling and this time a sailing boat was the way I chose to go from A to B. The Pacific is heaven! We all dive and have a compressor on board. My son will only join us for parts of the second rally but the diving on the first was the best. Particularly in the Galapagos – he has always dreamt of diving with hammerhead sharks and there were huge groups of them. It left him thinking these islands are the most amazing place on earth!”
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