Sailors in tune with na­ture

Kapi-Mana News - - BOATING -

It’s taken 30 years, but John Bul­ley­ment and his crew have fi­nally won the Relling Cup, a rac­ing se­ries based at the Mana Cruis­ing Club.

The se­ries is ca­sual and every­body stays mates over a sausage and mulled wine, de­spite the oc­ca­sional argy-bargy on the start­ing line and dra­matic screams of ‘‘buoy room’’ and ‘‘star­board, star­board’’.

The fact that John has fi­nally won this race won’t mean a lot to some, but what will is how sail­ing has re­mained a pas­sion.

He says that when many of his sail­ing bud­dies got mar­ried and had kids they stopped sail­ing – but not him.

John’s done his OE and raised a fam­ily (he did take a five-year break then), and has re­turned to the thing that helps him breathe – sail­ing.

Th­ese days he’s con­stantly ei­ther in, on or un­der the wa­ter; as long as he’s near the wa­ter he’s happy.

Re­cently he in­tended go­ing wind­surf­ing in Plim­mer­ton and drove up Mana View Rd to watch the wind change.

He wit­nessed the huge black southerly blow in. It whipped the tops of the waves 100 feet in the air.

This ex­treme hap­pens only about twice a year.

I’ve of­ten caught my part­ner, Dean, star­ing at the weather.

Sail­ing peo­ple seem to love be­ing part of ex­tremes of na­ture. Oth­er­wise why would you do it? It’s cold, wet, un­com­fort­able and terrifying. I’ve fallen in love with Dean twice. The first was in the Mar­mite aisle in a su­per­mar­ket a few months after we met.

The sec­ond time was a year later when I saw him sail for the first time.

He raced up to the front of the boat to jig­gle a sail that had got caught.

In that one small mo­ment I saw one of the most im­por­tant things about him, his pas­sion for sail­ing, and re­alised I could re­ally love him.

Now we live at Mana Ma­rina and race our home in the Relling Cup.

We came sec­ond – we raced our home! I still can’t get my head around that.

I’m try­ing to fig­ure out what th­ese sail­ing peo­ple have in common, and why I’m start­ing to won­der if I might be fall­ing in love with this sail­ing thing, even though it’s mostly an­noy­ing.

John says it beau­ti­fully: ‘‘ We’re chal­leng­ing na­ture. We’re all in the same boat and we have to­tal trust in who else is in the boat.

‘‘We don’t know that much and just hope that the oth­ers know ev­ery­thing! When it all turns wild, you make sure they sur­vive. We’re all with, but against, na­ture.’’

Sailor ahoy: My part­ner, Dean, do­ing what’s in his true na­ture.

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