Log, Act II - Le Souffle du Nord Kilcullen Team Ireland From Enda O’Coineen & Team, 14th Nov, East of Kaikoura, South Island, New Zealand
The log restarts, Act II and really it the ‘bit in the middle‘ namely circumnavigating New Zealand…
ACT III will commence in January when I will be honoured to set out as Ambassador for Le Souffle du Nord and Team Ireland on board Kilcullen Voyager to complete our circumnavigation (with one stop of about 3,000 miles).
And then its sole to Les Sables d’Olonne - to unofficially finish the Vendee Globe for two teams we hope - but have to risk Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean without support.
Anyway, now its calm, 0500 hrs its Tuesday 14th November. We are about 15 miles from the coast. The blackness of the moonless night is starting to lighten in anticipation of the Spring sunrise. There is little wind as we prepare cross the Cook Straight which divides New Zealand North and South Islands.
And wow, at sea again, it seems circumnavigating New Zealand - while we're at it - has become a modest little challenge in the context of completing our lap of the Planet. And a planet, whose oceans covering two-thirds of it, never cease to amaze, fire our imaginations and humble us.
Its all still a bit surreal. Like yesterday- on board the Kilcullen Voyager - powering towards Cape Horn. Wham. No mast. A new goal to survive. Otago Bay a week later, a temporary mast to Christchurch. The merging and marriage of two teams. For me it was love and the right thing to do at first sight. For the our new French Partners, still bewildered from their loss, the romance to blossom took time. ( 30th November we will have the opportunity to welcome them in Dublin)
And now Le Souffle du Nord Kilcullen Team Ireland are underway, re invented and I take from the words of Samuel Beckett, reflecting my humble drive….
"Perhaps my best years are gone.... but I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now"
Earlier in the week we lived a little on the edge. Getting the boat out of the Davie Norris’s yard in Christchurch, blocking off the highway and successful launch in Lyttleton Harbour was a challenge. Then through launch and sailing trials the weather was bad and it blew hard.
Happily the boat is in great shape, the rebuild has made her almost better than new. She is certainly stronger and reinforced where it matters.
Davie & team have done a brilliant job and are a credit to the New Zealand marine industry.
Leaving Christchurch, I was nervous. Having survived a thank-you night out with all our new Christchurch friends and Michael Keane (of Sligo) The Claddagh Pub. Also Amanda Davis who worked on the boatbuilding with Viki Moore, now ‘establishment’ and a new Council Member of the New Zealand Yachting Association representing the South Island, braved the sharp Spring wind in the rib to see us off. Our romantic French team members leaving their girlfriends behind, something about one one ever port, if only!!! But they do like their Guinness,
Nervous of these waters and the legendary stories but now there is little wind. Nonetheless a good test of boat and equipment, Our final leg of this journey, up into Wellington, now only 70 miles to go the the North, writing this log, as the sun prepares to rise over the Kiwi capital, should be uneventful.
Our greatest concern in the light winds, as we motor from time to time, has been bumping into whales as we passed through the Kaikoura Bay area – This is world famous as a meeting and breeding ground giant Sperm Whales, Humpback Whales, Pilot Blue and Southern Right Whales – we’re told. Keeping a constant lookout is vital.
Happily, while ACT III will be solo, we have 5 souls on board here off South Island NZ. Namely two brave French teammates Pierre Antoin-Tesson and Maxim Buoy from Le Souffle du Nord. Then Stewart McLachlan, a brilliant KIWI sailor in the middle and Joan Mulloy a talented sailor of Team Ireland, who has Figaro plans in 2018 together with Vendee Globe aspirations which we should all support.
Meanwhile as ever your Skipper is happy at Sea (namely those Ashore are safe!) and where passing the test of being a Real Irishman is a doddle. Namely the Real Irishman is one who never goest to bed the same day that he gets Up.