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Monday, November 20, 2017

Top of The Bucket List

Top of the Bucket List - When in Rome, er Auckland.....
I can't believe it, it all came back to me
OK, for the last 8 years we have been heavily weighted on motorcycle touring, an extension of my motorcycling addiction that started 52 years ago.

Well another sporting addiction was at play back in the early 1980's when a friend and neighbor Paul Kieran took me out sailing for the first time, sold me his small sailboat later and we (Sandra I and the kids) caught "2 foot-itis" for a long while after. It got to the point that I became "Commodore" of the AOSA, Alberta Offshore Sailing Association in the mid 1980's. Oh, sailing was in my veins. Our summer holidays with our different cruising sailboats took us to the west coast for some of the best holidays we used to have, and our daughter Shannon became immersed (pardon the pun) in the sport as well. I even raced twice in the Swiftsure Race while living on the prairies! It's all part of how we arrived at living on the West coast.

So when our motorcycle touring and retirement travel took centre stage, the sailing fell to the side but I admit every spring I wish I hadn't sold our small cruiser, or at least wish I had ready access to one.

Like our interest in the Tour De France we have long followed the America's Cup racing especially when New Zealand is at the top of their game which they almost always are. If they could tax the export of their helms-men over the years they would be rich! 

  • Kiwi sailors were represented across almost every competing team in the 35th America’s Cup
  • And in today's news the Kiwi's announce the new sailboat design. 

In any event  when we decided we were heading to Auckland, Sandra was insistent that I go out on an America's Cup boat like New Zealand used to defend the title they won first in 1995 and later defended in 2000. At the end of this sail I told Sandra that it was very expensive. She looked wondering if I lost or broke the camera or something. I explained, it might be the cost of a new sailboat. Oh man!
Under sail

The Crew shouting instructions
So today was the day. Perfect weather for it, 23C, sunny, a nice 10 knot breeze, with little heading, backing or gusts to it. With about 15 'guests' on board I wasn't sure how involved a person might get, but I got caught up as 1 of the mainsail grinders as we headed out and ended up only 1 of 4 -5 people who felt comfortable at the helm. As I explained later in the pub everything came back like muscle memory, and when the skipper suggested I could point a bit higher I indicated that I was already luffing the main sail a bit and needed to fall back off, which I did. The sailboat then accelerated from 10.2 to 11.9 knots and set nicely at 14 degree angle, perfect! He didn't say anything more, and we held that speed for as long as I helmed the boat, which was about 30 mins.

Perhaps that's why the Asian fellow standing to port of me in the photo was holding on so tight, lol.

For a short video of the boat on tack it is here.

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