Puma - Rick Deppe
Right now the only thing connecting Qingdao and Rio is a thin red line on Capey's (Andrew Cape) computer and I can't for the life of me think of two more different places to sail between than our Leg 5 start in China, and the finish in Brazil.
China, cold and grey emerging from years of communist autocracy, yet steeped in thousands of years of culture and still on a huge high from last years amazing Olympics, with a rapidly emerging economy, readying itself to take on the world as the next super-power. It was certainly a strange place to be for a yacht race though, seeing everyone wrapped up in big jackets and wearing long pants, almost unheard of so far in the race. The Chinese people were incredibly warm and sincere. Thanks especially to Wilson at the Sea View Garden Hotel for all his help and to Vivienne from Puma for being wonderful hosts to that country.
When we sail around the corner into Rio and see the "Christo Redempto" high on the hill, we will be arriving for a few weeks in another emerging economy and a country that will be another major player on the world stage in the years to come. Rio is sultry and sexy with an underlying dangerousness to it. In Brazil once you realize that nothing will work or run on time and that the whole pace of life runs to the unique samba rhythm that is the pulse of Rio, a little piece of you will always want to return.
Rio is a brilliant place, and that makes it all the harder to be out here right now. I was there last year on another sailboat race and spent a fantastic day touring around. I can't wait to take my family up to the top of the Corcovado where the view is unbelievable and spend some lazy days fattening myself back up and getting to know Rio a bit more.