Teen embarks on epic sailing adventure

Leandrea Mouers
A teenager from Walvis Bay recently had the opportunity of a lifetime to sail from Walvis Bay to Brazil.
Tristan Keulder (17) says he spent about a month and a half at sea.
“We sailed around 5 200 miles. I definitely want to do it again - I have another event in May, but I decided not to go. I missed home, so for now I am just happy to be back."
However, this young man has no intention of stopping his sailing career anytime soon and plans to sail around the world one day.
Keulder says that his love for sailing began early in his childhood.
“I started sailing small boats in grade 1 or 2 and have honed this skill ever since. Two years ago I got my 'sailing ticket' in South Africa to sail internationally as it has always been my dream to undertake long voyages. Locally, I worked at Catamaran Charters and also gained more experience there."
“I decided at the spur of the moment to sail to Brazil; I couldn't let such an opportunity slip through my fingers," Keulder said.
He said there is a big difference between sailing in Walvis Bay and the wide open ocean.
"We had many big storms. There was a lot of wind, and it was my first time sailing through both day and night, except for the times when we had no wind."
They sailed on a Fountaine Pajot Elba 45 boat.
"It's a 45-foot catamaran with a lot of space. I slept in front so I felt every wave. I didn't sleep very well the first few nights, but the seasickness subsided about two days later."
He said their biggest challenge was the days when the wind didn't blow and he was quite bored.
“We were past the equator, and we had no wind – which is not exceptional; it's just that region where there is not much wind. During that time we repaired one of our sails, did some engine work, and caught up on my work. It's just about keeping yourself motivated to keep going because you get bored. The boat can feel claustrophobic if you don't have something to do all the time."
Keulder added that one day he wants to get involved in sailing races because he loves the feeling of adrenaline when he sails at high speed.
However, the adventure to Brazil was not without excitement. According to him, they also encountered numerous sea creatures along the way.
"We saw many dolphins and a whale that jumped out of the water. It was also the first time I saw tuna jump out of the water. When they chase fish to the surface, they literally jump out of the water - these huge yellowfin tuna. It was breathtaking!”
One of the highlights of his trip was the island of Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil.
“The island has beautiful beaches, it's private and not many people can go there, which makes it very special."
"It was amazing to see and experience the culture of the Brazilian people and residents of St. Helena. The Caribbean was also an experience I will never forget. Yet, from all the places I've been, I prefer my country, Namibia." – [email protected]