Monday, March 12, 2012

Volvo Ocean Race reaches Auckland

They have arrived in Auckland, New Zealand after slogging 5,200 nautical miles over around 20 days from Sanya in China. As Mike Sanderson said "welcome to the land of the short, steep wave" the crews battled down the coast of the North Island (so cunningly named - being northwards of the South Island) and after over 5,000 miles through some of the toughest conditions they have encountered, almost match racing to the line. And I went out to welcome them in on Peppermint Planet, a Young 11 sailing out of the Richmond Yacht Club in Auckland. Armed with French wine and chocolate, or course.

The Real Boats Arrive

Groupama arrived at night and so the photo is a bit on the dark side - however we wondered with the lights that were blazing onto them from the support flotilla, whether they could actually see anything from Groupama at all! The others arrived very close together the next day (Sunday) with Telefonica and Camper having a great duel, won by Telefonica by 93 seconds - over 20 days... wow.

My Virtual Boats Arrive

Well the first one is about to finish as I write. I chose the name "Maroro" because it is Flying Fish in Maori, and while this fish and Maroro 2 were in the top 2000 boats coming down to Papua New Guinea, I have slipped to the 7,000's and 21,000's.

The virtual racing is fantastic, if you don't want to sleep, or be away from your computer/smartphone for longer than an hour... addictive, yes.(current progress I'm just past the Rangitoto lighthouse... so close now). The other boat - the greedy one that stayed too close to land (actually hitting Papua New Guinea during a dinner party) and went south early... is yet to reach Lord Howe Island - so still some sleep to catch up, and just a week lay-over. Even for us virtual skippers, that is not much time to relax before we head to Itajal in Brazil.

So, welcome visitors and welcome home kiwis and welcome virtual skippers too.

Home! Maroro 1 tacks at North Head, across the line in position 7433 at 11:07pm NZDT Monday 12 March.

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