Lat 40 22 North, 177 38 South
On board Le Souffle du Nord Kilcullen Team Ireland
MY BIGGEST personal challenge on leaving Auckland was surviving the Maori Blessing! Most of all was not wishing to be disrespectful, to take it seriously - together with our entire Le Soufffle du Nord Kilcullen Team Ireland delegation - we indeed were honoured.
It was deep and spiritual, reflecting the peoples close link with the elements and nature. New Zealand had taken us in, looked after us, and was now was sending us on our way. And the dramatic downpour and rain squall added to the occasion and ceremony - the rain soaked chief accepting that it - as a good 'omen` from the Gods
The 'us' being me and the boat - and French teammates Maxime Buoy, Pierre-Anton Tesson together with Peadar Gill and Nin O'Leary representing the Aran Islands and the Kingdom of Cork, respectively. The 'extras' for your humble single-hander are for our voyage to Dunedin. This is useful for preparations and safety around the New Zealand coast. From there they will cast their Maoiri blessed skipper adrift alone for France to 'unofficially' finish the Vendee.
Sailing out the Hauraki Gulf with the dramatic skyline of Auckland astern we had 30 to 35 knot gale force winds on the nose. However, with three reefs in the main and small J3 headsail we powered upwind.
That first night at sea was tough and the warm Summer was swiftly surplanted by the cold ocean. Its also difficult to transit from shore to life on the ocean wave. You are constantly rolling in every direction imagineable, bruising, banging and even the simplests of tasks take planning and agility. But thats the magic and the challenge of how our bodies can adapt and be taken from their sedentary settled ways....
It was then a difficult decision which route to take. Northabout or Southabout. In the end it was expediency, being prudent and safety factors that made decision - much and all as we would have wished to ' go over the top'.
And now, finishing this log, the sun is just making efforts to rise to the East. We have 24 knots of wind and are powering along at 15 knots approx. I have just had some sleep and once again I take from Samuel Beckett when he says.
'Perhaps my best years are gone...But I would not want them back, not with the fire that's in me now'