Madmen and their sailing Portimao machines

Portimao Global Ocean Race

Intended Portimao Global Ocean Race competitor, Bryan Cooke (NZL) backgrounds the race:

The 40’s are on their way to NZ, yippee, yahoo, party party party, damn another bunch of non-kiwi sailors to hit our shores and run rampant with our lovely ladies. But hang on, what is a 40’s ? Apparently, a 40’s is a 40 foot racing yacht raced in two classes, the Open 40 (canting keel and built of carbon) and the Class 40 (fixed keel and no carbon).

The guys, no ladies, that sail these rocket-ships around the world are the real mavericks of the sea, real men madmen even, the type that sail into a storm just to get a few more knots, intrepid to the extreme. Crazy amateur adventurers that appreciate they are on this world but once to race their tiny pitiful 40 foot ‘corks’ solo or with 2 on board. Some say no yacht smaller than a 60’ should ever race around the world, much too dangerous, others say that men that do should be given saint status if they don’t make it.

Yet here we have six 40’ yachts in all, 10 hardy sailors, including, for you ‘borne again middle aged’ single men, a 69 year old, all vying for line honours in the inaugural round the world Portimao ocean race. Started just 5 days ago from Portimao in Spain and now hurtling towards the Canary islands in 20 knot trades trying to decide whether to go around the islands or through them, through them is danger but were the wind is. Then, first stop Cape town (SA), Wellington (NZ), Ilhabella (BRA), Charleston (USA), finally back to Portimao 9 months later.

Sadly, there is no direct kiwi connection in this race. One got very close though, entered, even paid part of the entry fee but didn’t make the start line, the silly man thought that a boatbuild could be done with kiwi No8 fencing wire, forgot to do a business plan and allow for the necessities, like money ! He didn’t take into account the looming world financial crisis that we all saw coming 10 years ago, didn’t we ? Got part of the way through his Class 40 build, then watched in horror as his secure savings got smashed. Ah well, such is life he thinks, no government aid here, he’s now back in the workforce again getting money together aiming towards ‘other races’, perhaps the next Portimao race ?

He promised the editor though he will never ever bring up his sorrowful story again and will try to give hopefully sometimes funny sometimes sad comings and goings of the 40’s as they race their way around the world in the Portimao.

Race details www.portimaorace.com


Epiphany

Bryan Cooke stands with one of the mould sections for the Class 40 being built in Dairy Flat.
Bryan Cooke