Boating NZ : FREE TO READ April 2014
so Pip leant me a dinghy anchor. Brendan came in to say four riders were still out in the rough, and he and Jeremy were going out to round them up. The rest of us would return to French Pass. But Brendan was my buddy, officially. He was supposed to be looking after me. I must have looked pathetic. “You’re doing fine,” he said. “Ask someone to be your buddy.” I asked Ben, an experienced PWC rider from UK. “I’m only a teensy bit scared,” I told Ben. In the last few years, I’ve developed a whole new attitude to fear. I used to be scared of the dark, of flying, of rough-but-not-particularly dangerous weather. Now, mostly, I’m not – but it’s not the dark that’s changed – it’s me. I trimmed up my bow for the downhill ride home and checked my Ocean Signal personal locator beacon was securely in place. Soon we were back in the fast-moving mountains. Ben turned hard into a biggie and came off the back, bow high in the air. I wasn’t sure if he had done it for fun or for safety but he’d survived, so it must be right. I turned into the wave, fell over the other side, gunned Pearl into the next big wave and turned hard to run before the next one. Mostly I could run ahead of the waves, sometimes swearing urgently or emitting a gurgled shriek – not so brave, after all. I was constantly turning to see what was coming next, looking out for Pip in the boat and watching the visibility spouts of the other Yamahas. I had a horrible port-starboard-port corkscrew as Pearl nearly broached in a trough. I throttled hard, clung on and escaped. I rode the back of a wave for 100 metres, like an Avatar creature on its flying dragon. A set of large waves went through, leaving relative calm behind them so I sped across it while the speeding was good. Suddenly, we were back in flat water and the guys went hard-out for French Pass, unfazed by what we’d just come through. Boys can be so annoying. Some of them were doing more than 60mph. I peaked at 55mph but was way more comfortable at around 40mph. Even then the wind noise was like a freight train. Around 90% of melanomas are caused by UV radiation from the sun or sun beds; most melanomas are highly preventable. Thursday, French Pass to Picton, about 80 miles. With the big waves of the day before still haunting me, I was edgy but it turned out to be yet another easy day. Adine Wilson, former captain of the Silver Ferns and melanoma ambassador, joined us. Cape Jackson was a doddle and we turned into a flat Queen Charlotte Sound, headed to Punga Cove Resort for burgers and on to a welcome at Picton. 70% of melanoma cases occur in those 50 years and older. But Cyclone Lusi was dominating the news: would we be able to cross Cook Strait the next day and put New Zealand’s most famous crossing on our PWC CVs? Sadly, it was not to be. Jeremy made the call at 0530 next morning. Winds were 30 knots, gusting 40, in the strait and Coastguard had said it wouldn’t support us if we went. As we passed through Tory Channel in the comfort of the Interislander ferry, the wind had defied the forecast and eased. It’s unfinished business. I’m still amazed that I finished in such great shape with no aches and pains. Admittedly, the weather was kind and my hard work at the gym definitely paid off. My Pearl roadies, Elizabeth and Julie, took excellent care of me as did Pearl, my Yamaha Waverunner Cruiser. As a rider of a smaller PWC told me with a touch of envy: “You’re not on a PWC. You’re on a launch.” To everyone who sponsored myself and other riders in 2014 Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-nZ: a sincere thank you. 40 Boating New Zealand April 2014 Money raised from the Yamaha Ski-nZ challenge 2014 will be used to: • Improve the outcome for people with melanoma • Increase awareness of melanoma prevention and early detection in New Zealand • Improve communication amongst New Zealand professionals whose work relates to melanoma • Facilitate clinical and other melanoma research in New Zealand • Support families affected by melanoma Brendan Grant, Yamaha NZ, in one of his favourite driving positions. Lunch at Punga Cove Resort, Queen Charlotte Sound on what turned out to be our last day on the ride. REVIEW_Yamaha_April14.indd 40 19/03/2014 3:55:03 p.m.
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