And so we are back home… Some to further celebrate, some to try to forget, some just struggling to find a bit of peace. Too many emotions, too much stress to be forgotten overnight. This time we even more tired than ever as magic Brazil is really stressfull, as the lack of security, the continuos contact with extreme poverty as ultra skinny homeless sleep nearly all over the city just wrapped up in a blanket, as well as general luck of organization made everything even more complicated. We had a nice hotel costing a fortune, 350 us dollar per night, in a terrible neighborhood were you could not even dream of having a walk. It was juts get to the prison, stay there, call a cab and go to the venue.
Some brazilians tried to make as much money as they could overcharging for everything possible. The Yacht Club Rio de Janeiro was charging fortunes per day for us, just to have a rib moored outside the harbour or a dinghy, plus they made sure we felt really not at home as the “gerente” thought he was kind of our school teacher and kept on acting as if he was the master of the club, telling guests that could not sit in the restaurant of the club and forbidding mariners of the club to help cleaning ribs. All in all he was acting like he needed to get some clear speech on how to welcome and thank those he was charging fortunes to stay there.
Luckily I managed not to tell him all I thought and so got away without having to go mad at him, but bloody hell I would have loved to. If we do not forbid training at the Olympic venue surely World Sailing has to make sure that affiliated clubs do not charge 100 US$ a day to have a dinghy in a club, and if local clubs do so take appropriate actions. Actually all this should be in the rules and regulations of the Games, overcharging got to some incredible extent as to take a Finn mast from the airport this year costed the same as the year before, 500 was the price, only last year they were reials, this time euros… ie 3,5 times more.
Brazil did not adhere as promised to the carnet ata convention, so all containers had to be brought in by a brazilian company and that added immense costs to the opserations, and so hotel charges and all that could go through the roof went there Sailing is a lucky sport as only god could charge for magic winds and we had them and so racing was great, but surely we need to think on how to make sailing more popular and this extorsions, that make costs so high that very few can live well and compete, are a huge problem.
It seems like the days when going racing meant having yacht clubs proud of receiving international sailors, whose wealthy members were happy to host in their homes athletes for free like we had in Fort Lauderdale and Melbourne are really long gone, something really from a past century. I might be a sentimental idiot but I loved those times, times were sailors got friends for life, were the class and the boat was so important that you dreamt about racing, but maybe I am just getting old.
Brazil is magic, Rio is la cidade maravilhosa, but someone there did miss a great opportunity and took all the money they could using just a short term vision. They lost the chance to make the world know how interesting their country is, how nice and friendly people are there.