WE lived on the edge through several enormous waves prior to rounding Cape Horn. The winds were a steady 40 knots and gusted up to 50 knots. It was turbulent and through our ships various violent gyrations in, around, and through the waves, I would like to say I was not afraid or nervous. But I was. And frightened - but there was no going back.
The Rounding at 2241hrs, 16th February, 2018, exceeded all expectations.
And then, as if by magic, it seemed like we had entered the garden of Eden - without Eve or any apple trees - not long after turning the corner. It warmed up, the winds became lighter, the seas were flatter in the lee of Tierra Del Fuego. Yet, down at the Horn, it was still howling. To boot, the South Atlantic Residents Association gave us an imaginary champagne reception and it was party time and eureka!
From this experience, it drove home to me the fame and reputation of Cape Horn. The Roaring 40ies, the Howling 50ies and the Screaming 60ies - are not age related (though in my case could be!). Rather they are bands of latitude around the bottom of our planet. Here the winds and oceans roll around the World from West to East almost uninterrupted.
These winds are exacerbated at the horn by the funneling effect of the Andes and the Antarctic peninsula. The waves also encounter an area of shallower water which has the effect of making them shorter and steeper - increasing the hazard to ships. Notorious also for rogue waves which can attain heights of 30 metres - 98 ft. And of course the ice hazards
The Cape was discovered and first rounded by the Dutchman Willem Schouten who named it Kaap Hoorn after the city of Hoorn in the Netherlands. (1615 - 16 voyage of the Eendracht) And Drakes Channel, South of the Horn, was discovered by accident in 1578 when Sir Thomas Drake was blown off course. He was on his way around the World trip through the Straights of Magellin - a passage further north through the bottom of Chile and Argentina.
And it was the Straights of Magellin that Joshua Slocum, the great American singlehanded circumnavigator, used. He was smart and I always recollect his narrative of anchoring at night in the Straights with no guard against the local Indians. Instead he used thumbtacks, his secret weapon. He described how he awoken suddenly in the middle of the night with screaming and roaring as the barefooted robbers discovered the hidden tacksů.
For decades Cape Horn was a major milestone in the Clipper route by which sailing ships carried trade around the world and for US ships going between coasts.
Traditionally a sailor who had rounded cape horn was entitled to wear a gold loop earring - in the left ear, the one which had faced the horn in a typical eastbound passage. He also earned the right to dine with one foot on the table. To boot, a sailor who had rounded the Cape of Good Hope could dine with both feet on the table!
The need for ships to round Cape Horn was massively reduced with the opening of the Panama canal in 1914 and with the opening of transcontinental railways However it remains one of the most elusive and is in Chilean territorial waters. The navy maintain a station close by and it is part of Antarctica Chilean province. There are no trees. It rains 270 days of the year and the average winds are close to gale force with 100 knot squalls.
One historic attempt immortalized in history in the attempt of the HMS bounty in 1788 and subsequent mutiny on the Bounty which was fictionalised. Bounty made only 85 miles of headway in 31 days of East to West sailing - before giving up and going around Africa instead!
Actually the first small boat to sail around the Horn was said to be 42 footer Saoirse, sailed by Limerick man Conor O Brien. With three crew, rounded it during his circumnavigation of the world between 1923 and 1925. The first to do it singlehanded was Argentine Vito Dumas in 1942 on his 33 footer.
And wrapping up this Log, the Horn for your Skipper was a very emotional turning point. It was euphoric after the tribulations of the vast pacific over the past year getting there. On land, it was the equivalent of a good night out, making love; being with friends, and helping someone make their world a better place, and a good meal and you name it..
Subsequently it was back to the reality of removing and repairing a massive mainsail. And getting this great ship, I have the honour to command, the 8,000 miles up the Atlantic to finish. Each one to count for Le Souffle du Nord - Project imagine. And of course the Atlantic Youth Trust. Home boys home.
And of the many stories of poets and adventurers, telling of hazardous journeys around this iconic landmark I quote:
"One sight of such a coast is enough
To make a landsman dream for a week
About shipwrecks, peril and death"
- Charles Darwin
" Cape Horn that tramples beauty into wreck
And crumples steel
And smites the strong man dumb"
- John Maesfield:
Dropping my main sail over and over, I feel a bit like a maniac - up, down, up, down. Now the main is down again for the 3rd time. It's a demanding exercise, manic stuff.
And for the past while; with only a headsail set, the wind has been steady at 25 to 30 knots from the west. And cold. We have been making good progress between 10 and 15 knots towards the elusive Cape Horn, which the Southern Ocean Residents Association seldom stop discussing; and our mystery visitor last night.
Currently I feel very detached from the so-called world living in a small capsule, a bubble disconnected. However the support I am getting is really appreciated. There seems to b a ' head of steam' with Le Souffle du Nord and Project Imagine. Mile by mile, its very encouraging. Likewise in Ireland with school activities and promoting the Atlantic Youth Trust.
I pulled the main down in a 40 knot squall when the repaired 3rd batten had broken. Adding insult to injury, the broken batten, like an out of control swordsman, stabbed several holes in the sail - such was the violent flogging in the squall. Now it's a question of biding time, finding suitable weather to patch it. And away with the main again - hopefully. Happily in the strong westerlies; having no main does not seem to matter a hoot::
Previously I had had to drop the main when a halyard became loose. With a heavy locking device at the end, it proceeded to wrap itself around everything aloft, including the outriggers. It was simply safer to drop sail and climb up the mast and outrigger to solve it.
In many ways in heavy conditions, sailing without a mainsail is tedious. However it is much less stressful. There is no worry about involuntary gybes, damage or the boat going out of control. Instead you plonk along, Now its so easy for gybes and so forth, Generally with the main, we do not gybe over 20 knots, instead it means hardening up on the wind and doing s 360, often difficult in big seas, but safer and time rolls on.
And with time, getting jet lag on a boat happens in very slow motion. It takes so long,its akin to watching paint dry. Each day sailing east, the sun goes down earlier and I find it disorienting. From crossing the international dateline a few weeks back at the 180th we are now almost at a 100. So rather than keep a ' ships time ' I work off GMT which means in practice that it gets dark around 1430 and the sun rises around midnight !
It is supposedly Summer down here. If so, I would hate to be hear during Wintertime. The cold is penetrating, With three layers of thermals, the only way to stay together is to pile on clothes and be religious about wearing oilskins on deck. Regardless the damp and wet penetrates everywhere. And if its not coming externally, internal body perspiration during activities also make my clothes wet. Needless to say the inner layers do not come off, and when they do, you don't want to be near….
However it's the regularity of food, cat napping, routine maintenance work on board and dreaming that keeps me sane, or does it?
Such was the case last evening while in the middle of a review of the day with the Residents Association when we had an unexpected visitor. Probably in his late 20ies he was a British seaman who called himself Cape Horn Man who said he had fallen overboard on a passage and because his body was never found he is locked in perpetual eternity warning passing ship captains to take care:
And my final thoughts are summarized in the final stanza of Invictus by William Ernest Henley; the poem was kindly nominated by Bettina of the Project Imagine Team; who is in charge of the production of their films:
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
WE were faced with a difficult choice. One was to go north over the top of a vicious looking low pressure system. Or south around the bottom. Either way it would be a slog since the wind was predominantly East and North East - our general direction of travel. Meanwhile Cape Horn is ever so slowly getting closer and there is harmony between the three Residents Association groups who have merged
Time will tell. It looks as if the southerly option taken will work since the low has moved faster and deeper than expected.Also being slower in the headwinds, allows it to run before us. Going south its also colder. My fingers freeze a little while punching out this log - which I do not feel like doing - but it's a regular discipline - as with running our ship. Again punters say this is madness - so be it - but its desperately disciplined and you need to be desperately sane to express ones madness.
Now starting our 3rd week at sea, I am never away from the 'edge'. Day after day, 24/7, - or even 35/8 - there is constant movement and risk. There is always work to be done on these incredibly sophisticated boats refined for one man to operate. Its most definitely a love / hate relationship. Its massively isolated, alone, but not lonely.
Progress has not been good. I found the boom had disconnected from the mast in a routine check. The swivel stainless fitting had unwound. It was two hours before dark and despite dropping the mainsail, darkness won in my struggle to get it fixed and the boom back in position. I was exhausted and went to bed - if you can call it that - crouched on the navigators seat.
And its amazing what rest and a new dawn brought. A new approach, unbolt the mast fitting, reconnect the stainless fitting - fortunately the screw thread was only damaged a little. Then a series of four sets of block and tackle gradually leveraging the boom goose neck into the right position and "hey bingo". Problem solved.
After that there was no wind for almost 24 hours. It was dark, the sails clattered and we rolled in the swell. Then, within 5 minutes it went suddenly to 35 knots - gale force - making it a struggle to get the boat under control without damage. This was accomplished, not without shock to my system, again on the edge - and we back in business and away.
All of the above I might add, was reported for consultation with the Executive of the Southern Ocean Residents Associations (SORA). Namely Adolf the Monkey, Paddy the Leprechaun and the Kiwi Spirited teddy Bear whose views and opinions were confusing.
It has been a lifetimes work for me bringing ideas, community projects, companies and people together. I am proud to have been able the manage (not always successfully !!!) the different personalities of the different groupings, beliefs, expectations and socio-economic backgrounds. Happily now all is running smoothly that the South Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South Pacific Residents Associations and have merged to one - SORA.
From here Cap Horn beckons. And as with the Atlantic meting the Indian around the Cape of Good Hope (renamed by a PR exercise - originally Cape of Storms) and then the transition to the Pacific south of New Zealand, change brings turbulence. So lets see what the next two weeks will bring - hopefully safely into home Atlantic waters but at least e have SORA together.
We're together again
We're here, We're here And Never
In the history of human endeavour
Has so much not been done
And a lot more to do
Day 11, Act III
TODAY, with the South Pacific Residents Association, we have celebrated Waitangi Day - February 6th. Our Chairman considered it fitting - in view of us being half-way between Chile, which hosts Cape Horn, some 2,500 miles ahead and New Zealand 2,500 miles astern.
And, as we make solid progress ^¨NB) the Chair also passed a motion that the Skipper should improve his French. Her reason is that many of our 'back ups' on board are in the French language and to run the boat, fulfil my duties, I need adequate French. And, also perhaps to support the great future plans and vision for Le Souffle du Nord where, when Sylvian and Francois get going, the pensioners will cast off their walking sticks aside and be dancing in the streets of Lille with joy.....
And to this day, at school, I regret being a bad boy and having to leave our French class. Instead bad students had to go to the commerce class !
Indeed, had Napoleon not gone East and his troops not frozen to death on route to Moscow, he might have come to Ireland. Then we would all suffer for superiority complexes, speak French and eat more cheese. Instead we speak English and are so well politically balanced that we have ' chips' on both shoulders.
And, central to today's celebration on board, is that we have had the benefit of a ritual Maoiri Blessing before departing Kiwiland. And we carry spiritual symbols of this with Ponunmu Stones for home. And with the stones " Roimata" or "Tears of Joy" with three lines
1) Focus, on where you want to go
2) Freedom, to be what you want to be
3) Fun, life is good.
And, on this day as we celebrate, there are few, if any, more remote spots on the planet. The closest islands being the tiny Picturns to the north and land land being the Antharthica some 1,000 miles south.
And so with the merging of our South Pacific with the Indian and South Atlantic Residents Association, Waitangi as a celebration Day seemed like a natural.
Worldwide this has become New Zealand Day. Not without its controversy, it marks the founding document of the country famous signing of the treaty between the British Crown and more than 40 Maori Chiefs at Waitangi, in the Bay of Island, north of Auckland on 6ht February 1840.
The day, very symbolic politicially, throughout New Zealand, has also been used as a beacon of protest concerning treaty injustice by Maori activists. This is a side of the country we do not see much of. And, from what I see, by contrast with other minorities in other parts of the world, the Maoiris have had a good deal though integration of societies presents a large problem up to today. ( Of course in Ireland we have a lot of experience here where we host some of the last remaining great white tribes of the world !)
Back in the nautical world, for many sailors, the Americas Cup is very symbolic as is the amazing achievement of winning it. And when in Auckland as guests of the Royal New Yacht Squadron, holders of the Cup - and New Zealand Yachting - we were horrified to learn that a Maoiri activist had gained access a while back and almost smashed the Cup to pieces. Happily it was rebuilt by the original jewellers from 1850 and security is like at ' fort knox ' and, having triggered the alarms, I know!
And on board in my real ' unreal' world, progress has been steady. We have been on the same tack and sail combination for several days. A steady westerly wind constantly between 15 and 20 knots. Each day merges through overcast skies and drizzle with solid progress and no drama. A routine on board is developing for this second week - following the trials, turbulations, damage and successful repairs in week one.
And to round off todays's Log, and Waitangi Day, the Skipper and entire Council of the residents association dined out at the best restaurant on board ship. I had a steak, medium rare on a stone with mushrooms, onions, fresh vegetables and, of course, chips.
And, if only, such was a wish were true. Fom the words of Thomas Moore, who was told by his clergyman that wishing and the crime are one - and Heaven punishes desires as much as if the deed were done to which he replied.
And, if wishing damns us, you and I
Are damned to all our heart's content:
Come, then, at least we may enjoy
Some pleasure for our punishment
45 531 S , 165 49 E
With over 1,000 miles sailed since Dunedin I am still looking back. The 12,000 remaining ahead are too much to contemplate, but I am changing. Earlier today, feeling the isolation, your Skipper shouted and roared and walked the decks. But sure who cares?
I don't matter and am just a drop in the ocean. The problem is that I am distressingly sane, everybody else is mad. I state this as not only being a fact, but the truth!! As I sail around the bottom of the world - struggling to fulfill my dream. It is a logic without logic?
Actually, to my elation, people do care - and thanks to the wonderful update from Sylvie. She kindly described the Skipper's log like ' finding a bottle in the sea' and reported the launch of our collective challenge '13,000 miles for 13,000 smiles'. Already for Le Project Imagine there is a response for people to document their little big actions for each mile we sail. It's wonderful.
The first application, Sylvie reported, concerns one association wishing to promote the inclusion of young people with disabilities through sport. It seeks 2 volunteers to supervise groups of 1 to 3 children, 1 hour a week for indoor football sessions. Another wants to return to Brittany to kiss his grandmother before she dies...
Now alone, I feel the sheer vastness and isolation. It is humbling. Since departing the Heads at Otago in Kiwiland, I have not seen a solitary ship or any trace of humanity on this ocean - save the omnipresent magnificent Albatross's seabirds who once helped us save a life. Also, while it should be less, I become more afraid and nervous as time progresses. Each wave, each race around the deck, each activity is a risk. Doing nothing is not an option. It's constant.
And while I can be really alone on the ocean and isolated. It is possible for a fellow human being to be totally alone and lonely, in big cities or in the company of thousands of people. Alone, but not lonely, each mile has a goal, a purpose and a direction.
This is living on edge. Time and time again, I remember our crewman Willie on the maxi we sailed with in the Whitbread Around the World Race many years ago. Unexpectedly and in an instant, he was gone overboard. A sagging spinnaker line caught him off guard and swept him over. In my view it is healthy to keep reminding myself of this and always be on high alert, be fearful and be ready to expected the unexpected.
Moving fast in the big seas we quickly lost sight of our man - despite moving fast, slashing sheets, spinnaker lost to the ocean and a rounding up. One of 16 on board I will never forget the emotions. The friend and companion just gone.
And it was the Albatross' who literally saved his life. And now I look astern and see some Albatross hovering.
They are the most extraordinary bird. They can fly over 1,000 kilometers in a day and generally follow anything that moves in the Southern Ocean. This is one of the few places they are found. The wingspans of the great albatrosses are the largest of any bird, exceeding 340 cm (11.2 ft), and gliding with the prevailing winds regularily fly around the bottom of the world
The wings are stiff and cambered and their dynamic soaring of albatrosses is inspiring to airplane designers: German aerospace engineer Johannes Traugott and colleagues have charted the albatross's nuanced flight pattern and are looking for ways to apply this to aircraft, especially in the area of drones and unmarked aircraft.
Anyway, instead of following our maxi yacht a group of Albatrosses broke off and hovered over our Willie as he bobbed in the ocean. Otherwise it could have been much longer before we got him back on board. As it happens he had reached a state of torpor. First you shiver and then it is hypothermia and your eyes glaze over into torpor, the final stage before death.
This was a close call and emotionally draining as we brought our crew mate back and thought me a valuable lesson.
And the Albatrosses hovered all the time. And the more I researched this sea bird the more fascinating it became. They usually partner for life and seldom 'divorce' and most live for over 50 years and delay breeding for longer, have a long courtship process and invest more effort into fewer young.
One named Wisdom that was ringed in 1956 as a mature adult and hatched another chick in February 2017, making her at least 66 years old. She is the oldest confirmed wild bird as well as the oldest banded bird in the world. Above all they need vast space. Perhaps we have something in common?
I am a wave of the sea
And the foam of the wave
And the wind of the foam
And the wings of the wind
CROSSING the international dateline was a long time coming.
Then, in an instant, it happened.
The GPS went from 179, 59.999 W - to peak for a second at 180 E (or W?) - and my the long countdown to finish has begun. It was an emotional unreal moment. It took me back to the future. What was Sunday 28th, became Saturday 27th!
And sure what is time? It stretches in my mind from Albert Einstein's theory of relativity to my inability to understand the concept of infinity. Imagine ( Project Imagine? ) for ever and ever. Eternity, space and the universe unlimited. The 'holy grail' of mankind is to grasp and understand what it is.
I cannot grasp it. It defies logic, there is no logic to the logic. It is beyond imagination. To imagine what we cannot imagine? Is that not the abstract of God? (If not, I'm sure he'd have something to say about it)
And, as George W Bush would say ' An unknown, unknown ' ( as distinctfrom the 'known unknowns')
Anyway, its really great to be underway. Sailing around the Kiwi coast to Auckland and back South again was an ambitious 2,000 miles. However we did it. It was an adventure all of its own. The boat was proven and our shore side exchange with the Spirit of Adventure and Atlantic youth Trusts was a great success And separately the first ever Irish Pubs New Zealand Gathering was historic - while the Maori Blessing and send-off was symbolic and had a spirituality.
To represent Le Souffle du Nord and Kilcullen Team Ireland is an honour to finish both respective missions. Its also a big responsibility. When I look ahead to the enormity of the Pacific Ocean it does not feel real - but it is - in the humble context of time and relativity above, what is it.
Now I am all on my own. The first night it blew up to 30 knots and it was hard going. A massive adjustment and, the more I think about, the more anxious I have become over what lies ahead. Powering East and South its already cold and getting colder.
Covering over 400 miles in a day was good start. Or perhaps not since, it was 2 days! In fact it was approx 240 miles in the first 24 hours.
We have just passed between the Bounty Islands to the North and the Antipodes Islands to the South. The former seem like nothing more than a clump of rocks, the latter volcanic islands look interesting. The main island is an important UNSECO listed bird shelter about 20 k square. The highest point is Mount Galloway at 366 m
The island group was first charted in 1800 by Captain Henry Waterhouse. In 1803 Waterhouse's brother-in-law George Bass was granted a fishing monopoly for the area. Bass sailed from Sydney to the south that year and was never heard of again. However his information regarding the large population of fur-seals, led to a sealing boom in the islands in 1805 to 1807.
At one time eighty men were present; there was a battle between American and British-led gangs and a single cargo of more than 80,000 skins-one of the greatest ever shipped from Australasia-was on-sold in Canton for one pound sterling a skin, a multimillion-dollar return in modern terms. After 1807, sealing was occasional and cargoes small, no doubt because the animals had been all but exterminated.
A much later attempt to establish cattle on the islands was short-lived (as were the cattle). When the ship Spirit of the Dawn (with a crew of 16) foundered off the main island's coast in 1893, the eleven surviving crew spent nearly three months living as castaways on the island, living on raw muttonbirds, mussels and roots for 87 days before gaining the attention of the government steamer Hinemoa by a flag made from their sail The last wreck at the Antipodes was the yacht Totorore with the loss of two lives, Gerry Clark and Roger Sale, in June 1999. I guess they had no GPS!
And now leaving the Antipodes astern, sailing into the night of Saturday, (Sunday just a few miles behind) - as he wind gusts to 30 knots - I take from the words of Sean O'Casey, questioning what is the universe...
An' as it blowed an' blowed
I often look up into the the sky
An' asked myself the question.
What IS the Stars. What IS the Stars
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'
WE HAVE arrived in Auckland with a 35/40 knot gale up our stern. We shot across the Bay of Plenty, over the top after negotiating the Eastern Cape - our "Cape Horn". Prior to that, it was a hard upwind slog from Wellington. IMOCA 60's are not happy sailing into the wind and big seas, and their crews are even less happy.
Now we are almost half-way around the two massive Islands and many weather systems they call New Zealand. The Kiwi circumnavigation, which we will now complete by sailing to Dunedin is a mini-diversion on our way back to complete our "Humming Bird and Irish mission".
At times, and in particular the South it can be sub-antarctic and in other places sub-tropical. Their storms would make the West Coast of France winter gales seem like a children's tea party at the Buoy residence, such is their fierce and dramatic nature. It is a country governed by weather systems, with many climates and many cows.
The leg to Auckland had some drama. It included a crash gybe in darkness which smashed the traveller car... however we have recovered and it was a valuable lesson. Namely that these are fragile boats, we are fragile and the the ocean knows no emotion other than fury and is indifferent to the fate of mankind, engulfing two thirds of our little planet.
We were greeting on arrival by a gang of young Kiwi girls. They were clearly attracted by our two young Le Souffle du Nord crewmen, Maxime and Pierre. However, their older Skipper, may have cramped their style by talking to their mothers trying to control their drunk daughters celebrating and 18th! The evidence in the picture attached says it all.
"And to the ship that goes
The wind that blows
And the lass who loves a sailor"
(in every port)
The Kiwis have a passion for the maritime, the oceans and adventure. Indeed when they do things i it with focus - and did I mention rugby? This morning, (our morning after arrival) from our small dock coffee shop it’s cold, windy and raining and I see a group going to sea...
In many respects NZ is a frontier country - they are very self-contained. The 'Can-do" attitude is strong and having always had to stand on their own they do not have the ' safety-net" many Europeans have - such as pensions for older people our our health systems. By comparison Ireland and France are becoming 'Nanny States'.
And so this is our last log - I think - until we sail again to complete our voyage around nz to Dunedin and then back to finish in Les Sables.
But first. your Skipper travels back to Europe and we look forward to meeting all in Dublin 30th November. This will include the launch of our Schools Adventure Programme by Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor, a lunch, and workshop on using ocean adventure in Education, a reception hosted by the French Ambassador to Ireland and then a night out in Dublin...
Unrelated but complimentary to our great adventure, the Atlantic Youth Trust partners (www.atlanticyouthtrust.org) looked at 16 countries around the Globe to survey their youth maritime development models. As it happens By far the New Zealand one was the best. Here the Spirit of Adventure Trust run the Spirit of New Zealand, a 45 metre Tall ship (see www.spirpritofadventurtrust.org).
So in January we have a group of youth doing a 10 day voyage from 6th to 15th January starting and finishing in AUCKLAND. Then 14th to 16th we have an official visit to meet the NZ charity trustees and see their youth development model first hand. This will be valuable in developing the ATLANTIC Youth Trust, not just as an island of Ireland North South youth project, but also a European project.
Other activities for the exchange are also being planned not least some time rubbing the Americas Cup secured at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
Then on the 16th January approx, the plan is for our team to depart up over the top left corner of NZ, down the west coast, and around the bottom and up into Dunedin - thus completing our NZ circumnavigation. This will be a valuable 'warm-up' for the Solo departure around 25th January for Le Sables d'Olonne and unofficially finish the Vendee course with "One Stop".
Until then, we look forward to our next log " at sea' and thanks for sharing the mission, vision and adventure and let the dreamers dream.
- Enda O'Coineen, Auckland
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.