Doha struggles in light airs to reach Auckland

‘How frustrating it has all been. At the beginning of May l was all set to take on the Blue Ocean Wireless Round the World Challenge, in an attempt to break Ellen MacArthur’s solo record. Now, because of the major breakages that happened so quickly into the challenge, I have been forced to head for New Zealand instead. If the breakages had happened when l was still West of New Zealand l would have had the choice of turning round and going back to my Tasmanian starting point of Hobart, or sailing with the wind to Wellington, much easier than l’m now forced to do now.

It has been a real struggle to get back to Auckland. The dominant winds in this part of the world come from the W – SW which, as I sail NW back to New Zealand, are right in my face. Because of the problem l have with the forestay, l cannot beat to windward as hard as l would like to because this could undue the repairs l have carried out to keep the 50mm dia. forestay pin holding up the rig, in place. Lee Bruce, my weather router, has given me a continuous flow of advice and information and from being over 1000 miles from Auckland, l am now around 800 miles away – as the crow flies.

Once l get to Auckland, l will clean up the boat, look at the damaged equipment that has got to be repaired or replaced, and because Auckland is one of the great yachting centres in the world, be able to get people with the right experience to help rectify things. l am also looking forward to a night’s sleep in a hotel bed, together with some good food and a drink or two to warm the heart.

The good news is, l have had no problems with the boat itself. She is a true wonder, taking everything that is chucked at her. It’s the equipment that has been the problem, which at least, narrows the logistics to getting everything fixed, before l sail back to Hobart.

Right now, l have 4 or 5 knots of wind, pushing me along at around 4 kts towards Auckland. I am going to cook a terrific curry, and then use the opportunity that these light airs provide to get some well-deserved sleep. The main thought in my mind at the moment is to rectify the problems, get the boat back into top condition and get back on track to make another attempt at this record later in the year.’