“It’s pretty hard to put into words what Auckland looks like.”
That’s Kiwi eloquence for you. Daryl Wislang doesn’t usually say much anyway, but when it comes to speaking about his home country, he pauses first.
The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s sailor rubs his hairy face as he thinks of the best possible adjectives.
“Some of them have never seen New Zealand or sailed into New Zealand. It’s pretty unreal scenery, probably some of the nicest coastlines in the country.”
After three weeks at sea, the land is calling. All sailors are looking forward to the reunion with their loved ones, a fresh, meaty burger and a good, long shower.
But some of them are just a little keener to wrap Leg 4 up and dock in Auckland.
Daryl is one of them. Auckland native Ryan Houston is another.
“As I watch the small box in the corner of the nav station laptop giving us the estimated time to the finish, I normally wouldn’t take much notice,” says Team Alvimedica’s watch captain.
“If we are doing well I like it to go a little faster, if we’re behind I like it to slow down giving us more time to catch up. Besides that I don’t mind staying onboard for long.
“But this leg for me has an added interest as I am heading home to New Zealand. I watch the ETA closely for a different reason.”
There is another Kiwi onboard the orange boat, and he has an extra reason to rush.
“I’m actually racing, doing my best to get to the cricket game in two days,” smiles Dave Swete. He’s steering across the southern Pacific Ocean, just over 400 nautical miles to the finish.
“We’d like to see the Black Caps give the Aussies a good pasting,” adds Ryan. “Solely because we have an Australian onboard (navigator Will Oxley) and he believes we’re no good. But I think this is our year for the Cricket World Cup!”
The Auckland natives want to watch the New Zealand’s match against Australia at Eden Park on February 28, at 1400 local time.
February 28. This Saturday. Right, that’s the day the boats are arriving into Auckland.
“If we time the arrival right for Saturday night, it should be a very good welcome,” comments Daryl.
That may ruin Dave and Ryan’s plan, but the locals could watch both – the cricket and the race.
“Auckland’s public, the general New Zealand public will give us a pretty warm welcome. They’re passionate about sailing.”
And that, is an international language.
Arrivals are coming up – don’t miss the action!
If you’re in Auckland – come down to the Viaduct Harbour to welcome the sailors after three weeks at sea!
If you’re online – download our app for iPhone and Android or check out our website for live video coverage of the arrivals.
Current Estimated Time of Arrival: Saturday, February 28 (0800 – 1200 UTC).