Miranda Merron in the Southern Ocean: Weather not in the brochure

Miranda Merron in the Southern Ocean: Weather not in the brochure

Monday February 6 2012 Author: Miranda Merron Location: none selected

It is most odd to be going in completely the opposite direction from the one originally planned, and in solid downwind conditions - the very conditions you would hope to carry you towards Cape Horn... And here we are heading for Auckland, the wind and the sea with us, while throughout the long period of preparation for the Global Ocean Race, one of the key motivations was the thought of surfing the Pacific swell in the legendary westerly winds of the Roaring Forties. And instead there is an easterly wind flow over the area!

We are of course aware that it is not usually possible to cross an ocean in perfect downwind conditions, and that there will be unfavourable wind at some stage or other. But there are limits to what is acceptable. The current weather is most definitely not in the brochure, nor does it much resemble previous visits to this part of the world (six times between the two of us).

The weather serves as a permanent reminder of just how powerless and useless man can be in the face of nature. We feel quite small, and a certain respect for the power of nature is a requirement when embarking on any outdoor adventure.

One cannot aways lay the blame for failure on the weather, or lack of luck or any other excuse which could save face publicly. Bad luck doesn't exist and the opposite of luck is risk. Any enterprise carries the risk of failure, and sometimes that can be down to us. The most important thing is to overome failure and retain any lessons for future enterprises. And that it what is keeping us occupied at the moment.

Not every single mountaineer has always successfully summitted, nor has every skipper crossed the finish line on the other side of the ocean. Over and above natural obstacles, failure can be down to a lack of suitable equipment, often due to inadequate preparation, or simply that man was not strong enough on the day in question to draw on his deepest reserves to overcome these obstacles. And sometimes you simply have to recognise that it is not the right time, for on that particular day, Nature will have the upper hand.

Despite the fact that we are out of the race, we are of course following with admiration our brave fellow sailors who are continung their route towards the east, come what may. We nevertheless think that we are better off where we are now. If selfishly that is true for us (though comfort wasn't something we expected to find in the GOR!), it is especially true for our boat. Campagne de France has already carried us to the far side of the world, and we intend to get home with the boat in one piece and in good condition. So from that point of view, we don't regret our decision, knowing how upwind sailing loads the sails and equipment.

We don't as yet know by which route or how we will complete this voyage around the world, for we do not intend to settle in New Zealand (though a superb and welcoming country it is). The change in circumstances by being out of this leg presents a new adventure in itself, with many unknowns ahead of us. We will have to get over our huge disappointment to tackle the various problems that have arisen with this unforeseen scenario. But real life is like that. If everything always went perfecty to plan, the world would be a boring place.

We are thinking a great deal of all of you have supported us in this Adventure, and that is why we intend to get back on track one way or another, so that we can continue sharing with you this slightly mad undertaking of world tour on a small 40' sailboat.

More soon, for Campagne de France's voyage around the world is not over

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