It’s been an eternity, but finally, finally, finally, after countless false starts, I’ve got my website up and running.
It seems that every time I’ve come close to getting things operational I’ve crossed tacks with a new or existing project and lost the momentum. Now we are launched and there’s no looking back!
My intention is to use this blog to keep you up to speed with what has been happening in life: what I’ve done, what I’ve seen and what I find interesting. For example, I’ve just been watching the most amazing video clip – nature at its best. It’s an Eagle Owl in slow motion – flying directly at the camera and captured at 1,000 frames per second. It’s a stunning clip as it is, but if you are a tech-head, watch how the small feathers near the leading edge of each wing reveal turbulence and stall as it comes in to snatch the food. To see it go to http://www.dogwork.com/owfo8/
Life continues at its usual frenetic pace, and I love every bit of it. My latest book, Bligh – Master Mariner, has just been released in paperback and is in airports and bookstores across the country. The book went to Number One in its category as a hardcover. I’m now working on a follow-up book which will be released for Christmas 2012. That’s another exciting project.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week was a huge success – most long-timers say the best ever in its 28 year history – and already plans are being established to make it even bigger and better next year. This is the first time at any major international regatta that great sailing has been moulded perfectly with an amazing, week-long social program. One of the many highlights was to have the America’s Cup there, along with the Cup winning skipper: Australia’s own Jimmy Spithill.
The cup was delivered to the island by 30-year America’s Cup veteran Tom Ehman, the Vice Commodore of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club – the defenders of ‘the Auld Mug’ in 2013. Tom went away from Race Week more than impressed: ‘Hamilton Island Race Week is the best kept secret in the world of yachting. The organizers of any major race week should look at how Hamilton Island makes this more than a sailing event: it’s also a social and cultural happening. Through resources, imagination and hard work it has really come into its own.’
On a personal note, I grabbed a sailing opportunity at Race Week that I will never forget. Here’s what I wrote for my recent report in Seahorse magazine: ‘Simon Hull and a team of top kiwi sailors brought the ORMA 60 trimaran, Team Vodaphone, to the Whitsundays from Auckland and set the scene alight. It was billed as an exhibition sail, and it worked: suddenly high performance multihulls were the talk of the town. In the first race over 20nm to Lindeman Island and return, the tri completed the course one minute a mile faster than Wild Oats XI – the Rolex Sydney Hobart race record holder. Then, fortunately for me (a multihull enthusiast for 25 years), I was invited to join the kiwis for a race and sample the fun from ‘inside the ring’.
All I can say is that I never thought I’d ever experience 17-19 knots upwind (high and fast), and a blast of a reach across Whitsunday Passage where we never went below 30 knots. Fan-bloody-tastic!’ I was also fortunate enough to sail aboard the 33.5-metre long catamaran, Swift, during Race Week. In 2002, when named Orange, she took the Jules Verne Trophy by setting the fastest time ever for a non-stop round the world passage: 64 days 8 hours 37 minutes 24 seconds.
There is still plenty of travelling on my agenda as well. Last week I had a very enjoyable three days at Lord Howe Island doing a promotion for Robert Oatley Vineyards, and there’s a round the world trip not far away, one that will include a 1983 America’s Cup reunion with a group of media mates in Newport, Rhode Island, and the start of the Volvo round the world race in Alicante, Spain.