I am specially saddened to learn of the withdrawl of Kojiro Shiraishi from the race and, with deep upset from a personal perspective.
We were first introduced in an Irish pub in Tokyo eight years ago and built a friendship. He brought his Samauri sword and I brought my Irish whistle. I have never seen a blade as sharp and I was also impressed by the sharpness of his personality - I am not so sure about the whistle.
We had kept in contact and our friendship deepened through the build-up to the Vendee.
Also the Japanese Team has a special Irish interest in that in the bckground it is superbly managed by Tony O'Connor of Raheney in Dublin. Tony's wife is Japanese and it was through Tony's language and business skills that the projet became possible and the team qualified. As not being a French team or European, it was an added achievement in getting to the startline for Kojioro.
And, such is the nature of this weird and wonderful event, encompassing every aspact of humanity, we never know whats going to happen next as Skippers live on the edge 24 hours a day.
At least there is some consolidation for Kojiro in that it is Summer in Capetown and they have good golf since he is a passionate golfer.
On Board Kilcullen Team Ireland