By Mackenize Kench (as amended by s4e)
As reported in December, a group of sailors in New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay set out to honour a mate with a 24 hour sailing event. Mackenzie Kench shared their story.
At 12:00 p.m. on Saturday of the 4th of February, three teams and two individuals set off from a dock in Napier for a mission. Their mission – to celebrate and honour the life of fellow Sailability Hawkes Bay sailor Samuel Gibson by sharing memories – and making new ones – whilst sailing 24 hours straight.
One of the most memorable moments of the Cook Strait crossing in April 2015 was Sam having toilet trouble. So, to avoid a repeat occurrence, the individual sailors docked every two hours to refuel. It was during these pit stops, the teams exchanged their sailors, sometimes relieving those who were ready to hit the hay.
Napier really turned on the weather for the event. It has to be wondered if Samuel had a nice little chat with Mother Nature. In saying this, there were times when a little tow or nudge from the support boat was necessary as the wind was nowhere to be found.
Samuel was used to doing things his own way, especially when his disability meant the normal solutions weren’t practical for him. The idea for this event came about after a number of Sailability clubs considered participating in another 24 hour event in Auckland. However, when it was discovered that the disabled sailors would have to jump through extra hoops, not required by the non-disabled teams, the participation in that particular event was canned – although the idea of a 24 hour sail still appealed to many, including Samuel.
Samuel was a longtime member of Sailability Hawkes Bay and was keen for any sailing adventure. So, after Samuel passed away last May, it was important that his fellow sailors had the opportunity to remember Sailor Sam, the Samuel they knew, and to show their support for Samuel’s family. Samuel’s family generously agreed that a 24 hour sail could be held to honour Samuel and to raise funds for the Samuel Gibson Memorial Trust. Samuel’s family were heavily involved with this event, much to the delight of Samuel’s fellow sailors.
Those involved with the event would like to thank all of the local sponsors who provided spot prizes to the participants and volunteers. These spot prizes were given out on the Friday evening where everybody got together to socialise and decorate the boats in a fun way, which would have been undoubtedly appreciated by Samuel. No doubt, Samuel would have loved seeing his youngest daughter coaxing her grandad to put on a Hawaiian skirt!
If you were wondering, the mission was completed!!! And followed an enormous sleep for many of the participants and volunteers. The sweetness of successfully accomplishing the mission was only made sweeter after learning that over $2000.00 was raised for the Samuel Gibson Memorial Trust.
You can find more details about the Trust via this link.
Photos © Simon Cartwright Photography