…. So what am I doing here?


Just left Chatham Islands after some pleasant sailing from Auckland via Napier, and now setting off on the longest passage I have ever undertaken (and so far as I know the longest passage the Nellie has ever undertaken). Like many of my shipmates I started with dinghy sailing, then did a bit of coastal sailing in bigger yachts and then sailed with the JST in square riggers. For several years I hankered after sailing across the Atlantic, but because of various other commitments was unable to do so with the JST until 2011. I was then able to join Tenacious on its return to UK from Bermuda via the Azores. Shortly before that voyage started the Sail the World programme was announced. Two legs of STW appealed to me; the final leg from Halifax would be a transatlantic voyage from the N. American seaboard, but the ultimate challenge had to be the leg from Auckland to Ushuaia via the infamous Southern Ocean. Would I ever get another opportunity to sail a square rigger round Cape Horn?

Now I’m beginning to think that “it seemed like a good idea at the time” and seriously questioning my sanity! But I’m committed now and like every member of the crew, we all depend on one another. I’m sure everybody’s up to the task and equally sure that Nellie’s up to the task as well, so I admit to some trepidation but confident that we’ll come through in the end and have tales to tell everybody’s grandchildren.

Colin Vane