Once upon a time, or something to that effect, I purchased a bedding set from a nice department store. What was it that stayed in my mind?
- It had wide stripes.
- There were two shades of beige.
- It was made of dyed cotton.
- It was woven, rather than printed.
- And it was way over budget.
At this point in my life, I had just started competitive sailing. I had been lucky enough to have done this in the UK, Caribbean, USA and Australia. Sailing had given me the opportunity to see amazing places filled with many colours. The blues of the ocean and sky coupled with sunrises and sunsets never left my memory.
Running a business never crossed my mind at this point. I merely wanted to find a vivid blue striped duvet set. I must have searched 100s of products online for months, never finding anything like the quality and texture of what I had purchased once in beige. I only found printed cottons with basic stripes and colours.
Two years later
It was at this time that I took an extended racing trip in the Caribbean, and the striped duvet set, which up until then had been a distant memory, came back into my mind. I was frustrated with my job, and it was having a negative impact on my wellbeing and. I felt it was right time to press the reset button.
We were racing offshore in beautiful, warm waters and sunshine, which meant I would probably not be back on land for about five days. This was an opportunity to clear my mind of the rat race and to reflect on my life and what I wanted to do with it.
On this occasion, the weather was unprecedented, with high winds and big seas. This meant lots of crew work. A high sense of mental alertness to keep both the boat and myself safe. We sadly had to retire with ripped sails, which meant we were back on land earlier than expected. This gave us a few days off before the next race started, with time to reflect on the stormy journey we’d had.
The seed of an idea
Sitting on a beach with a good friend, talking about life – finally reflecting on my job and noting that it was not making me happy. They reminded me that only you can change your course, and you just need to take the helm and do it.
My self-esteem was at an all-time low, and the thought of going it alone was not to be under-estimated. As good friends do, they pointed out that I’d just come through some tough sailing conditions and this was as good a time as ever to change course – and so the idea of XV came to into being.