Lucky Bastard

Wayward Adventure
Fri 18 Sep 2009 21:58
As with all adventures there are stories that come along that need to be told.  This story is about one of our Cruising friends that has just made it into sailing lore.  His name is Aedgard and he is a 66 year old single-hander.  He is finishing his 5th circumnavigation on his own boat Lariekoek.  This trip around has taken 17 years and will finish in New Zealand.  His shorter circumnavs were done on  Dutch boats with him as winning skipper of back to back Whitbread round the world races.  He is a Legend in New Zealand as his crew in those days all went on to become Americas cup champions for various countries.  So he is a legend without a doubt.  The last I saw him was when we waved goodbye as he was sailing out of Neifu harbor on his way to Fiji before heading to New Zealand.  We all met months ago and became good friends in the meantime, so when someone sails off you hope you see them again somewhere down the line.  Two days later there was a report on the radio that a sailboat had hit a reef at night in Fiji and they believed all was lost.  The sailboat was reported to be a single-hander and the boat....Lariekoek!  With no more information than that we had to wait 12 long hours before any more news was available.  Finally word from Bravado a sailboat that was buddy boating with Lariekoek.  It seems that in the night Bravado was able to get to Aedgard and rescue him in their dingy and they were standing by until daylight to see if they could salvage any of his belongings.  Another 12 hours and I get an email from Bravado.  Upon daylight a local Panga with three Fijians aboard picked up Aedgard and took him to the reef where there were already 25 Fijians assembled.  The crowd helped fill up 4 pangas with everything on board including the stove and batteries.  Then the island caretaker rolled in a CAT excavator and gently lifted each end of the boat while locals put tires under Lariekoek.  Then they built a framework of giant mahogany beams with 15 empty oil barrels attached to it and waited for the tide to come in and successfully floated her off and onto a mooring.  But wait how is it possible that all these people with all this equipment just happen to be sitting there on this remote island in Fiji.......Mel Gibson...what do you mean Mel Gibson?  It turns out Mel bought the island a few years back and has a full time crew building an estate there as well as a landing strip with private jet.  I just received an email from Aedgard and he says that all the equipment off the boat is stored in a palapa next to the swimming pool and Mel's private chef was cooking him dinner.  Aedgard can fly out on the private plane as necessary and he was given a cottage to stay in while getting things in order.  So I can say without a doubt that you Aedgard are one lucky bastard.  I have never been envious of anyone hitting a reef but this might be the exception.  Lariekoek is floating and there appears to be no leaks and Aedgard believes he will be able to sail the final stretch to New Zealand with some minor repairs done.  What a story.  He ended the email by saying "Old sailors never die".  Indeed you lucky bastard.