FROM 2-14. Cape Town-Kerguelens


The first dawn of 2010 – velvet grey, drizzle, lumpy sea, soft dying breeze and the shadows of birds. Water running off the boom and trying its best to go on down my neck.

10 years ago, Pete and I, and Yahya, Caro, JG and Gordon were holed up in Skeleton Bay on the east coast of Tasmania sheltering from the weather, drying out the boat and getting some sleep before finishing the race. We drank some rum and slept through the arrival of Y2K. I had a badly broken face from a meeting with the highfield lever earlier in the race and we were all hung over when we departed at dawn. We finished the race around 0300 on Jan 2 with no-one awake in Constitution Dock except some backpackers who shared their fish and chips with us.

And that's really where all this silly gallivanting began. I could not get the face sorted in Hobart over the NY holiday and there was a big southerly blowing so on Jan 4th Pete and I had an eerie last supper at John Sutherland's in our wet weather gear and John put us on the boat and we sailed down the Derwent at night and out past Tasman Island into the guts of the southerly and roared up the coast past the derelict and abandoned Innkeeper which we passed some time in the second night and we got back to Sydney in record time. Then the cranio-maxillary surgeon opened up my face and filled it with chicken wire and screws and I've been a bit lopsided and daft ever since but we had realised that we could handle Berri double handed with no difficulty and this thing took some ethereal shape.

And here we are, 10 years later, a few more Hobarts, a million lists, a couple of Fastnets, Cape Horn, the North West Passage, the International Space Station, Baton Rouge and one and three quarter circumnavigations on the score card. If we make it back to Sydney, we will have achieved at least a couple of firsts and made a lot of interesting friends.

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