Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bizarre Setting for the Start

Apparently, Kiwis are very into their rugby. In the last 24 hours I think about 50,000 people have descended on Wellington in anticipation of the NZI Sevens Tournament and they are not your normal tourists. Don’t get me wrong, they are spending plenty of money on food, booze and everything else. They just look a bit different.

There is a tradition of Kiwis coming to Wellington in groups and wearing the most outrageous costumes you have ever seen. It is quite impressive. Better than any Halloween I have seen in the States in fact. We have grown men in pink ballerina outfits and so much more. I am sharing a couple photos below just to give you a small peek at the wacky scene happening right now around the docks. As I try and get serious and prep for the Leg 3 journey, it is a huge contrast to have all these people letting loose around me.

The boat is ready and I am ready. My shore crew has worked so hard to make sure of this and I thank them with all my heart. Jeffrey, JC, Tim, Willy, Hannah and all the additional volunteers deserve big kudos for getting the boat prepared with multiple challenges. Wellington has been a spectacular port and the Awards Ceremony last night was the best we have experienced so far. It was a classy event and great to spend a bit more time with my fellow competitors before we dive south in to the Southern Ocean.

The weather is looking good. It should be a very fast transit to Cape Horn with strong winds powering us down there quickly. I am hoping the weather during this leg of the race is more consistent than Leg 2. Right now it looks like more traditional Southern Ocean conditions and I look forward to the fantastic sailing I have seen there before.

What have I packed?

Food: Loads of AlpineAire dehydrated food, Grawnola, coffee from a local company here in NZ, and a small amount of fresh food

Clothes: All my stellar Gill clothing including a new set of foulies that look and feel awesome, Ondeck team gear, Dubary boots, and some cozy New Zealand socks that Meaghan bought me

Technology: Autopilots and instruments from B&G and Simrad, an itouch with music and books, and digital photos on a keychain

Other: A new bean bag from Coast New Zealand which will be my new rest/sleep area on the boat. It is called a Marine Bean.