Monday, 16 May 2011

VOR: CAMPER'S Qualifying Sail Day 7 - Good to be Home...

Nearly there. Image copyright Hamish Hooper.

by Hamish Hooper

Well that was a cracker of a night!
 With what seemed a blink of a heavy eyelid, we were all of a sudden from the tiptop of New Zealand, approaching Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.

As I got up, I noticed most bunks were empty - no one seemed to want to miss out on the downwind fun over night. Emerging on deck at sunrise I was warmly welcomed on deck by everyone, “Welcome Hoops, welcome on Deck... What’s for breakfast?” Rice balls & apricots... I can already smell the food from Jess’s kitchen at the base!

Massive smiles a mile wide from everyone as they all took quick turns on the helm. They reminded me of young boys fighting for command over a PlayStation controller for a game of Grand Theft Auto. Nico seems to like burying the bow into the back of waves causing a mass of white water over the deck – like a good Aussie bogun doing donuts in a V8 Holden – or should that be Ford?

Video summary of the Qualifying Sail:

Just as well he was putting on such show, as soon after 8am we were joined by a helicopter for some very well timed publicity shots, of which I am sure, and not biased at all, will be some remarkable shots.
 The islands & landmarks on the approach to Auckland appear in sight & disappear behind us in no time, all of a sudden we have Rangitoto in sight & we are back in our picture postcard back yard. It feels fantastic.

Rounding north head: How appropriate that we get 20 knots on the nose, after the last two weeks we laugh at the coincidence.

The sight of our trusty shore crew lined up on the dock presents a warm welcome. I’m wondering if they are expecting me to be first off at the dock, with gear bag in one hand, letter of resignation in the other. No such chance.

It’s good to be home, but what a privilege to sail on CAMPER with the bunch of guys we have on board. I’m immensely impressed with each of them. I have no doubt with Nico and Stu, the strong and respected leaders they are, we will be a strong team.

Right now I smell like I have never smelt before. Even my lovely mother is reluctant to give me a hug. Time for what will be one of the best showers of my life.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand
Volvo Ocean Race