Wednesday, 6 April 2011

BWR: Andy Meiklejohn Reflects on the Equator Crossing on HUGO BOSS

"Did you feel the bump?" said Meiklejohn to Verbraak, when they swaped over after crossing into the northern hemisphere on Andy Meiklejohn's watch

Andy Meiklejohn on board HUGO BOSS. Image copyright Wouter Verbraak/Alex Thomson Racing.

The only Kiwi in the 2010-2011 Barcelona World Race, Andy Meiklejohn sent through this update last Sunday. Meiklejohn is on board Hugo Boss (formerly Pindar), along with Wouter Verbraak. They crossed the equator early Sunday and are lying mid-fleet. The first boat home - Virbac-Paprec 3 - arrived into Barcelona on Monday

by Andy Meiklejohn

We’re now 300 miles North of the equator having crossed it on Sunday morning NZ time. The leaders, Virbac Paprec 3 of Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron of France are now just a few miles from the finish in Barcelona.

For myself and Wouter Verbraak (NED) onboard Hugo Boss, the race has been a mix of emotions both high and low, but overall we are left with a sense of "what if". What if we were a little quicker in the light and were in a better position leaving the Med, what if we didn’t have our mainsail, mast track or generator issues, what if we hadn’t needed to stop in the Falklands; too many to dwell on!

What we have had is an incredible opportunity to race shorthanded non-stop around the world, with 14 boats, that’s only 28 crew, less the half of the number that take part in the Volvo Ocean Race each time. I have been able to break out of my comfort zone of being a bowman in a team of 10 and show other skills. Helming this boat at 30 knots through white out conditions where we have 2 inches of snow in the cockpit, ice coating the mast and rigging and 40 – 50 knots of wind is not for the faint hearted and not something most professional sailors get the chance to do!

This race is a true mix of skill, endurance and management and given the history New Zealand has with the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race, it would be a shame not to see a New Zealand entry in the next edition. Certainly it’s something I will be working on! So as we head up the final stretch of the Atlantic, we are looking for one final chance to gain back some miles on the guys in front; if it presents itself, we will be there to grab it!

Andy Meiklejohn
Alex Thomson Racing
Barcelona World Race
Yachting New Zealand