In case you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to…the truth is I hardly know where to begin. Work began in a flurry right after arriving, thanks to help from a bevy of American cruisers here in New Zealand in addition to inspired Kiwis. Some even drove or sailed down from Auckland just to see Ocean Planet and offer their help! I have been overwhelmed by the support of them and of the terrific town of Tauranga, which has pulled out all the stops to make this stopover an unforgettable New Zealand experience.
I’m sitting in the media center office where computers have been set up for skippers and teams to connect to the world. At the other end of the parking lot is the Western Bay Finance race village, a fun place with food, music, prizes, and the HSBC education tent for kids. The awareness of the Around Alone race here is absolutely amazing. No matter where you go in town, if I mention that I’m with the race I get a great response (“You guys are totally mad! Here, have one on me…”). It seems like EVERYONE knows about the race and we have been treated like kings. Gift baskets, a big pack of $30 vouchers at local restaurants, and free adventures for the skippers like glider flights and skydiving! My partner Jeanie was here so I took a couple days off so we could spend some time together and sightsee, a nice change of pace…;-) We did the glider flights the other day, and I was nervous, but what fun!
Huge thanks to Garth and Wendy of “Velella,” a Wylie 31 they sailed down from Auckland just to slave away for a week helping me. Also spending a lot of time on the boat is Tom Petty (no, not the musician) off the Wylie 60 “Roxanne,” Ayn Woodruff (formerly of Alameda), Keith & Susan Levy, and Kiwi Graham Dawson just to name a few. Now that Ashley, Rich, Jason, and Steve have arrived we are going flat out. I decided to go ahead and squeeze in a modification to our bow that Tom Wylie and I have been thinking of for a while, in addition to fixing our water ballast tank and gobs of other details. All the other boats are flailing away too as the next leg is the longest and most serious one of all. New Zealand is a fantastic place to get difficult work done on your boat for a really good price (the next best thing to our builder Schooner Creek Boat Works!), so now is the time to do as much as we can!
Yes, I’m walking the plank financially, as always, but I am getting hungry to keep adding speed and put more Open 60’s behind me. I like to be in front and that’s where we will be sooner or later, even with our very different boat.
Sorry that our website went down (long story), but please check our new website at www.everyocean.com/oceanplanet. Also, look for some BIG changes there soon, along with an announcement on a new venue to follow Ocean Planet, sailing forums, ocean racing, and the care of our oceans in general!
This update is but a snippet of the adventures I’m having here, and I will pick up the pace on the updates for the rest of the stopover, I promise… BTW, attached is a nice look at OP’s new “nose.”
Sleepless in New Zealand,