Sailors in tune with nature
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.