7 July 2017
At the end of 2000, the schooner Seamaster (renamed Tara 3 years later) with Sir Peter Blake at the helm, left Auckland’s Viaduct Harbor for a long journey. Like the famous explorer Sir Edmund Hilary before him, navigator Peter Blake had proven to his fellow Kiwis that they were capable of making a mark on the rest of the world. A true leader of men, he broke records around the world and won almost all the major sailing races, including the America’s Cup in 1995 and 2000.
“Meeting Peter, participating in the America’s Cup, living here in Auckland – These experiences will undoubtedly accompany me throughout my life”
It’s very moving to come back here, as it was 17 years ago in 2000, and also in 2003. I had the chance to sail in the Hauraki Gulf aboard the French challenge for the America’s Cup. We didn’t win, but meeting Peter, participating in the Cup, living here in Auckland – will definitely accompany me throughout my entire life, like all the powerful experiences that one can live in a lifetime. It was during this period, in 2002, that Etienne Bourgois, founder of the Tara project, came here to build a boat and met Alistair Moore, who, a few years later, told him that Seamaster might be sold.
“The story of Tara has been crazy, since her construction: Yesterday and today, her existence comes from the realm of dreams”
© Ivor Wilkins
To be back here aboard Tara is something very special and powerful for Etienne and for me. Bringing Tara back to Viaduct Harbor after all these years and adventures in the 4 corners of planet Ocean is extremely moving – an intense emotion shared by the hundreds of Kiwis visiting Tara this week. We really feel the aura of Peter at every encounter. I often say that Tara is one of those rare boats endowed with a soul. Her history has been crazy since her construction. Yesterday and today, her existence comes from the realm of dreams, from the passion that motivated Jean-Louis Etienne, Sir Peter Blake, and the Tara team to turn dreams into reality.
Being here is great, and it seems that destiny has played one of its tricks. The New Zealand team engaged in the America’s Cup in Bermuda last month not only had the talent to win the trophy hands down – Bravo! – but had the good idea to bring the trophy back to Auckland yesterday, after losing it 14 years ago.
© Hammish Hooper / ETNZ
“Lots of “thumbs up”, “good job, guys!”, “bravos!”, photos and selfies from the 10,000 Kiwi spectators”
History and immense chance, a meeting of paths – I was here in the driving rain with the Tara dream team, in the heart of the parade celebrating the return of the New Zealand Emirates Team, amidst hundreds of boats. Lots of “thumbs up”, “good job, guys!, “bravos!”, photos and selfies from the 10,000 Kiwi spectators present. Without a doubt the most beautiful recognition for Agnès b., Etienne, the Tara team, our partners, and for me was given by the public here. The feeling that Tara is worthy of Peter’s legacy. It wasn’t a given, and now it’s up to all of us to continue.
“A very beautiful way to close the loop”
Returning here in these conditions at this precise moment is a very beautiful way of closing the loop. But beyond this, Etienne and I believe this is the beginning of a new cycle. The Sir Peter Blake Foundation and the City of Auckland have given a unique and moving welcome for Tara. The Blake Foundation teams are as passionate as we are in sharing, engaging the public and the young generation on the path of science and sustainable development. A wonderful partnership that will allow us to welcome young Blake Ambassadors on board for expeditions, get the participation of Kiwis, and why not sponsors in the missions of the Tara Expeditions Foundation. Stand-by tack!
Executive director of the Tara Expeditions Foundation
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