It's probably good to be awakened to reality, for there I was reminiscing on the many great moments of my singlehanded voyage round the world, some of which are to be told in Yachting World in August.
My good brother Chris has brought me, as it were, back to earth with some photos he took of Spirit of Pentax limping into Otago Harbour after going aground on Stewart Island in a foggy calm, to the south of New Zealand.
|Toe the line ... Pentax is towed to the repair jetty in Otago Harbour after a stranding in fog on Stewart Island. Photo - Christopher Rodgers|
Chris, a canon with the church, lives in Southland and with the aid of radio hams kept a very thoughtful watch as I sailed the damaged schooner towards Dunedin, accompanied as ever in that part of the planet by albatrosses and occasional sea lions.
And there was the good fellow with my parents, and his camera, on board a support vessel in Dunedin's huge Otago Harbour.
|Arrival ... Sails down as the rescue launch approaches Pentax at the entrance to Otago Harbour. Photo - Christopher Rodgers|
It's only today that I am seeing some of the shots he took.
Beer and skittles
They remind me instantly - for the first time for a very long time - that the voyage to round Cape Horn was not exactly all beer and skittles.
The shots reveal that Spirit of Pentax was no state-of-the-art superyacht.
Even if the charter price might have had you thinking so, she was actually a home-built, almost jerry-built, canoe-shaped happening with some very temperamental ways. Thankfully Pentax cameras took care of the charter price.
I was invited to take part with her in the BOC Around Alone race. The yacht rolled in a storm off South Africa. The owners had expected to find sponsorship for the event, but were not successful. A payment was late and they claimed my flat even though, after extensive repairs, I returned the yacht to them.
So, yes, it hadn't been all plain sailing. But it was an extraordinary voyage, the schooner didn't kill me, and a well-received book, Loner, records some of the magic. I don't dwell on the hellish price because extraordinary experience shouldn't be measured that way, should it.
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