Cory McLennan and his boat, Atom Ant. Supplied image.
by Zoe Hawkins
One of the world’s oldest and harshest extreme sports, ocean racing is a challenge too tough for most adults, but 18 year old Cory McLennan of Greymouth (pictured), and 16 year old Edwin Delaat of Auckland, will team up to race Cory’s boat, Atom Ant, in the Royal New Zealand Auckland to Musket Cove, Fiji Ocean Race starting on 1 June.
It was helping bring a boat home to Auckland after the Fiji race two years ago, that made Cory realise sailing was an addiction and on the water was where he wanted to be.
The South Island farmer’s son had sailed small boats since primary school, and is now an apprentice sailmaker, working in Auckland.
He purchased his boat, Atom Ant, earlier this year, with the goal of taking part in a solo race to Australia, in 2014.
The Musket Cove race is an important step on the road to what Cory hopes will be a lifetime career as a sailor. While most boats will compete with at least five, and as many as 12 crew, Cory and Edwin will be alone, working day and night to keep the boat moving and to keep themselves fed, watered and rested.
“I have watched people sail around the world since I was seven, and the idea of taking on the globe by sail is something I dream about and think about all the time,” he says.
His boat, the bright red Atom Ant, is well known on the Auckland race scene as a seaworthy and capable vessel, and Cory has had extensive support - practical, emotional and financial - from his parents.
For the race he has teamed up with 16 year old Edwin Delaat, and in their love of the sea, the two young men share a lot in common. At age 12, Edwin bought his own boat, called Crac a Jac, and the two have been relentless in their pursuit of greater and more ambitious sailing challenges. Edwin has raced offshore a number of times.
The two are working hard together to get the boat ready for the race. Extensive safety and communications equipment is required, as well as back up systems, food and drink, clothing, and of course a boat in top shape to race. Both have undertaken a mandatory Survival at Sea course, and first aid training, and the boat will be given the tick of approval by Yachting New Zealand’s safety inspectors before the race start.
Other entrants in the race are Outrageous Fortune, Wild Card, Equilibrium, V5, Newcastle Venture, Squealer, Vision and TeamVodafoneSailing.
The 1,150 mile marathon starts off Westhaven Marina in Auckland on Saturday 1 June and finishes at the resort of Musket Cove. The race is supported by Manson Anchors, PredictWind.com, Events Clothing, and TNL GAC Pindar.