Sydney to Hobart ‘like playing for Barca’, says Peruvian sailor

Peru sailor Gerardo Injoque has likened contesting his first Sydney to Hobart to playing for Barcelona against Real Madrid, but there will be no football talk heading down Australia’s east coast for the crew aboard Garmin.
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Injoque has banned himself from mentioning last month’s soccer World Cup qualifying win for Peru over New Zealand in the presence of fellow crew member Belinda Lyons, who hails from across the Tasman.

He is also not mentioning next year’s World Cup in Russia to his Australian crewmates, after the Socceroos and Peru were drawn in the same group.

On dry land, the affable Peruvian can’t help but compare his obsession with sailing to his passion for football.

“I was just talking to my parents and friends in Peru back home, and I explained what I was about to do on the 26th [of December], it’s like if you play soccer with your friends every weekend and suddenly you’re invited to play with Barcelona Football Club one match against Real Madrid,” Injoque said.

“Walk around the marina and you’re going to see some serious people and some serious racing boats … that is very intimidating.

“I was telling my dad, when we arrived to Sydney Harbour on Saturday morning, I’d never seen so many sailboats in my life. It was very, very scary. Thank God our skipper was at the helm, we had to be tacking and jibing all the time, it was that hectic.

“This is part of the beauty of the Sydney to Hobart, when you see the footage of the start, you realise this is huge. For a sailor, it’s just a privilege.”

Garmin is contesting the Clipper Round The World Race and recently completed the arduous journey across the Indian Ocean from Cape Town to Fremantle.

For 10 days the boat grappled with the elements, sailing into a stiff headwind, which has readied Injoque for the rigours of crossing Bass Strait. But he has been preparing for this journey for more than a decade, soaking up every piece of sailing literature he has managed to get his hands on.

His obsession with the Sydney to Hobart was forged after reading two books about the events of 1998, when six sailors lost their lives – Fatal Storm and The Proving Ground.

“It’s one of the races famous for its rough weather, for a sailor, that’s the conditions where you grow, the conditions where you are really tested,” Injoque said.

“We train for that, the boats are designed and prepared for that. It’s just part of the Sydney to Hobart. It’s to be expected, rough weather. I hope we don’t have it, but if it’s like that, it’s like that.

“We already had some fair share of bad weather when we came from South Africa to Australia. We had, like, 40 to 50 knots of wind on the nose, we were beating for over 10 days, which was crazy.

“The living conditions were really hard. It was very humid, even brushing your teeth, working in the galley was really hard, forget about changing sails in the bow.

“We know that the Bass Strait can be more than that. It’s a bit scary and I have read so much about it, I know what can happen. It makes me a little bit more prepared for that and safety first. Trust the boat, trust our skipper and it should be fine.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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