The Carrick teams across South Africa were privileged to listen to and watch Chris talk to the team at head office in Cape Town on Monday, 24 October about which factors have informed and driven him to prepare for, and take on, this forthcoming incredible adventure on the high seas.
The point of his motivational talk to the Carrick staff is that success is not an overnight accomplishment, and that everything that you have done in the past has prepared you for where you are today. You can’t help being reminded of images of storms and the sea in The Tempest and the line “What’s past is prologue …” when you think about Chris’s words of wisdom in this regard.
You would be forgiven for thinking that Chris Bertish is a water spirit. Born in July under the astrological sign of Cancer – which is said to be associated with water, night-time, tenacity, sensitivity, intuition and success – Chris epitomises all the qualities of a man driven to succeed in his natural element … the ocean.
In a nutshell, Chris told us that, by nature and deed, he is a storm chaser, and that his idea of ‘normal’ is when elements (at sea) are volatile, forcing him to adapt to change. It is on land that he experiences discomfort (from other people). At sea, he is completely self-reliant and the master of his fate, and that he has always sought to go where no, or few, men have gone before.
He was inspired, from the earliest time, by the knowledge that opportunity is to be found when facing obstacles, and so he turned his attention to mastering feats the thought of which engenders trepidation in the hearts of others. Because of his early childhood experiences on water, the ocean began to hold no fear for him, no matter the depth below his board.
The why and the wherewithal
He told the assembled advisory team before him, and online via Zoom, that he has planned, prepared for and rehearsed everything necessary to undertake the momentous journey across the ancient Spice Route.
As with sales success, all possible responses and eventualities that crop up in a sales pitch need to be prepared for and rehearsed: knowledge, confidence, self-belief, sensitivity to the (client) environment, learning from your mistakes and never giving up are what it takes to ‘make it’, no matter what you put your mind to. Having a goal is everything, but that is not the ‘why’ you do something.
When Chris realised that he could marry his sporting skill with philanthropy, he found his ‘why’. Paddle-boarding 7500 km over 120 days in a specially designed craft – from the coast of Morocco to the Florida coast – would be done to raise funds for Operation Smile and The Lunchbox Fund and Signature of Hope Trust.
It is when Chris met Craig Featherby, and the decision was taken for Carrick to become the Title Sponsor of this epic journey to benefit the lives of vulnerable children, that Signature of Hope Trust joined the list of beneficiaries. This ‘why’ will provide Chris with the energy to keep going, stroke after stroke for 1.5 million strokes across the Atlantic, most of which will take place at night, because the heat of the sun is a killer on the ocean.
The preparation for this journey is mind-boggling, requiring backups of backups of backups when it comes to harnesses, comms and other systems. South Africans will be interested to learn that, in terms of food, 20 kg of dried biltong will be stowed away along with 30 kg of freeze-dried high-energy meals as well as other nutrients.
He has teamed up with Inmarsat, has various automated intelligence systems, water desalination units, audio systems, cameras, survival and medical kits, specially formulated sun protection, and so on.
His companions along the way will, hopefully, be turtles and humpback whales: as to other creatures of the deep, well … Included in his audio selection are the calls of humpback whales to attract the whales to the craft through the vibrations emanating through his craft.
One of the stand-out revelations of his talk was his insistence on being completely self-reliant, and hence his decision to make the journey unassisted. A support craft means having to worry about what can befall the craft and the men on the craft, which, in turn, renders one vulnerable in terms of one’s own ability to ride out any eventuality.
Chris says that the only person who has never let him down is himself, and so he has prepared for the worst and is hoping for the best. Needless to say, no man (or woman) succeeds without someone in their corner, and he credits his small but loyal team for bringing him to the point where he is today.
His British-made custom craft, branded with the Carrick name, will take to the water within a few short weeks, and then, if we quote, once again, from The Tempest, Chris will “then to the elements be free”.
Carrick is excited to be associated with this momentous journey and to be part of the huge fundraising undertaking to improve the lives of children in South Africa.