From Sydney, Resolute sailed up the East Coast of Australia to Cairns, competing in the Airlie Beach Race Week (2nd, Catamaran Cruising Division) and then Magnetic Island Race Week (1st, Cruising Catamaran Division). Afterwards we left for a 3 week trip to the Louisiades, Papua New Guinea – some of the most beautiful and remote Islands in the South Pacific. It was a truly memorable and humbling experience. Lets start with the highlight…
PART 3 – THE LOUISIADES
Three weeks in the Louisiades has been a real highlight of our time with Resolute, not to be forgotten. We sailed with long time sailing buddies, Mike and Prue, and in convoy with sister Georgina and partner Dave, on their Seawind 1160, ‘Nimrod’, at least for the first week or so. Take a look at the video (see link on side bar on right).
Highlights? Beautiful, dignified people, who live in abject material poverty. Cyclone Ita carved the place up in April this year; since then, many communities have been short of vegetables, too, though fresh water is abundant, as are fish for those who live by the water. It is difficult to generalize, but most communities have little or no access to healthcare (to the best of our knowledge there is not one Doctor currently in the Louisiades, even on Misima), there is little or no power on most islands, and there is scarcity in everything from basic clothing to tools.
We’re left confused by the role of yachts who visit. So much of what has been given in the past now is junk: torches, solar panels whose battery or charger unit has packed up; fiberglass boats destroyed by being dragged across coral… Some of the islands visited in the past years by the rally (which was sorely missed this year) have developed a culture of what amounts to begging. Certainly our meager efforts seemed to be a particularly ineffective form of philanthropy, and we’re left wondering if they’d not be better off if they’d never seen a yacht. Certainly, it is not possible to turn the clock back, and one point of (relative) light is the education system – teachers are paid directly by the central government, and most kids seem to have access to at least elementary education.
Anyway, who are we to judge? There are some amazing people, real unsung heroes, who’ve committed serious time to working with some of the villages, really helping them build capacity. There are some missions who are providing health and educational outcomes. There is no question that the world has found the Louisiades, and so from here development is inevitable. It is really a question of how, and there are some huge questions. For example, should large scale gold mining be allowed (e.g. in Rossel?).
A lot to ponder…. Meanwhile, we take away some truly unforgettable moments. One: as we walked up the hills of Nimoa, we were joined by perhaps 30 kids, aged from about 2 to 12. The older kids carried the younger ones; we felt like the pied piper. It was a great adventure, us ‘dim dims’ amusing them endlessly with our lumbering clumsiness. The kids looked after each other; not a single parent in sight. What western parent would allow their child to head off for two hours with random strange adults? [button link=”https://vimeo.com/108887052″ size=”small” icon=”arrow-circle-right” color=”silver” text=”dark” window=”yes”]for higher definition, click here[/button]
PART 2 – MAGNETIC ISLAND RACE WEEK
Greenwich Flying Squadron’s A team joined Ressie – Andrew Van Heyst, Andrew Limmer and Jeremy Bishop. Our strategy: lose early to get a better handicap…. brilliant. Implementation?: win first race. Win alcohol. Drink alcohol. Forget Strategy. Win next race. Win Alcohol. Forget Strategy….. Somehow or other this lack of strategy resulted in winning the series. Confused? Good. [button link=”https://vimeo.com/108898500″ size=”small” icon=”arrow-circle-right” color=”silver” text=”dark” window=”yes”]for higher definition, click here[/button]
PART 1 – AIRLIE BEACH RACE WEEK
The ‘gurus’ joined Ressie for this ‘campaign’: John Harrison (‘Harsol’) John Florin (‘Maverick’) and Bill (‘Pornstar’). First day we were about the only cat to set a kite and hit 20 knots. Only problem was pulling it down…. A truly great series of big winds, Ressie loved it. We were pipped at the post by a handicap player (a Catana 44 from way back in the fleet), but were happy with our 2nd place and lots of memories, including some rock bouncing which resurfaced the starboard daggerboard. All fun and games.[button link=”https://vimeo.com/108953942″ size=”small” icon=”arrow-circle-right” color=”silver” text=”dark” window=”yes”]for higher definition, click here[/button]