Finally there (here)

2 01 2012

After what is quite possibly the hairiest 8 hours or so on a yacht crossing the Cook Straits and diving for cover under in the lee of the north island on New Years eve, we have arrived in Wellington. Sorry for the complete lack of updates, but it was a pretty intense period before we got in, and since we have arrived it has been a bit like landing on a different planet.

We decided to sail across the straits, through the howling gale and huge seas that Ross writes about below, as the weather models said that there would be less breeze closer to the North Island shore. I set a waypoint at about where the wind would ease to 25 knots which would feel like a gentle breeze after what we were in, then we both hoped like hell the weather models were right. We are always reluctant to trust the weather models too much, but sure enough they were bang on and before we knew it we were beating upwind in somewhere between 14 and 20 knots (lost all the wind gear remember), and getting right into the coast.

Time to catch up on a little sleep then, an hour each at a time. We were both exhausted, as this was the second ‘last night at sea’ where we push though without sleep to get there faster. I was fascinated by the lights on the coast, envious that behind every light was someone nice and warm, doing whatever they normally do on a Saturday night. Then all hell broke loose, lights flashing everywhere, fireworks in the sky, and it took me quite a few moments to realist that Local time was 0000 on 01/01/2012. I woke Ross about 15 minutes later to give me a break, wished him Happy New Year, we shook hands and he offered to make me a cup of tea.

Yesterday had a beautiful coastal sail down to Wellington, marvelling at the landscape, and into a very warm welcome by Wellington, members of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, family and friends and a few confused looking locals passing by wondering why two smelly tramps standing on the dock were getting so much attention.

A few simple words can sum up leg 2: cold, wet, damp, grey, windy. However racing through the Southern Ocean is one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done, and will possibly ever do. The mind is a clever organ, have almost forgotten the sensation of freezing cold, wet feet.

Over the last 24 hours Ross and I with a huge amount of help from Jan, Colin, Magnus, Tracy, Mike and others who were press-ganged into action, have the boat scrubbed from top to bottom, all the inspections done and the worklist written. We are sitting in the hotel in Wellington, waiting to catch a flight to Auckland, Ross to head on up to Waipu, and I have a flight back home to the UK. We both need a good rest, our poor bodies have taken a bit of a battering, nothing a little time on the sofa with the remote control in one hand won’t fix.