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Day 116

By Brian Hancock

There is still some nipping and still some tucking to be done before Captain Coconut and his crew on Explorer make it around the northern tip of New Zealand. They are ever so close but things don’t look good (weather wise) once they get around. The Windy Forecast shows headwinds (like they have not had enough already), but it’s a beautiful coastline and they are nearly there into the beautiful City of Sails.

Meanwhile Sterna has been creeping up on them and are just over a 100 miles behind and trucking along at well over 8 knots. They played the wind game lottery and came up trumps (can’t stand the man by the way and shouldn’t even use that phrase, but there you go – I just did). They have just a tad under 400 miles to go. Come on mr wind god, let’s give these boats a break, and I don’t mean breaking any boat or breaking wind. Just give them some following wind and following seas. They have earned it.

With the Christmas/New Year break over there is frenetic activity on the docks in Auckland. Sails have been repaired, winches have been serviced, some rigging has been replaced, some crew have been replaced, but for the OGR fleet they are halfway around the world and it’s time to tighten ship. There is still another half of the world to sail around and there may or may not be some deep potholes along the way. But I digress.

I know many readers want to know more about the naked models, but I have nothing more to offer. Seen one, see them all, although there was this time in Bermuda. True story… (ADHD).

Instead there was a crazy helicopter pilot. This is part two of a four part story. Part of the film shoot in the beautiful Bay of Islands involved some stunt flying. If Simon le Bon walking on water towing the boat wasn’t enough, they hired this guy. Now I am quite comfortable with a pilot in flip flops; very sensible foot wear if you ask me. I got married in flip flops.

Here was how the scene was supposed to work out, and it did. My (ex) wife and I (still love her, but… 🙂). We spent the night painting the Sasson logo on the spinnaker. You know the one. I will send a link at the end but I don’t want to lose my train of thought here. The plan was for the the boat to be sailing with the spinnaker flying and that flip flop crazy helicopter pilot would fly through this hole-in-the-wall place and come out the other end and fly over the boat with cameras clicking and video whirring. All good.

I think someone (probably the Director, someone else wearing flip flops) knew the measurements of the hole-in-the-wall and it turned out that the pilot (loose term) would have to fly less than three feet above the water. If not his blades would hit the sides of said hole-in-the-wall and that would be the end of the commercial, and I’m just guessing here, a whole lot more. He made it, in fact there were a few takes and he made them all. Here is a link to that 30 second commercial – old and grainy I know, but still pretty good.

The thing about these stories is this. An around-the-world-race is all about stories. I am not trying to take anything away from the current entrants making their own stories, but when there is a lull in the racing with most boats still in port, it’s just filler. Wait until you read about my skydiving situation in New Zealand with a lesbian strapon (sorry autocorrect, I meant a lesbian strapped-on, as it was that she was strapped onto me. It was a tandem jump).

But first tomorrow, there will be the another in the three part series (plus one) of the crazy helicopter pilot, who by the way had a case of Steinlager on his back seat and a cold one between his legs – just to keep it cool. He helped our crew, and the mayor of Auckland win the inshore race in Waitemata Harbour. You can’t make this stuff up.

Go Explorer and Sterna.


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