Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for 7 December 2011
Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race has finally finished with the arrival of Puma Ocean Racing into Cape Town aboard the container ship Team Bremen out of Tristan da Cunha.
Of six entries in the race, three made it to Cape Town, and three arrived by ship.
The race continues for the shore teams. Abu Dhabi is the furthest advanced with her new rig stepped ahead of the start on Sunday.
The shore crews for Puma and Team Sanya will be literally burning the midnight oil to get their respective charges onto the start line in time.
In Perth the ISAF Sailing World Championships have got underway to a very mixed bag of weather, causing one day to be lost already and the famed Fremantle Doctor isn't running according to plan.
It is too early to draw conclusions from the results, with classes either in the Qualification phase while others won't race for another week. Certainly the crew of Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders in the Mens 470 got off to a good start with a win in the first heat of their fleet.
Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders leading the 470 fleet downwind. Alex Ocean Images
Tuesday marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Sir Peter Blake.
That moment in time 10 years is one few kiwi sailors will forget. We woke up that morning at 6.30, as the radio alarm went off flicking onto the news bulletin. Caught the tail end of the lead story. Heard the mention of the name Peter Blake and the Amazon. Another story from the Blake publicity machine? Then the simple words: 'He was 53'. And we knew he was dead.
Blake has been eulogised over the past decade as a sailor and a leader.
What most forget is that while he was in a very select group of top sailors in the history of the sport, Blake had one maybe two qualities that made him stand above all the others in that elite coterie of just four or five sailors.
A big fleet of Optimist sailors competed in Sir Peter Blake Regatta ahead of the 2011 World Championships in napier Richard Gladwell
Sir Peter Blake was a master communicator. Like no other Blake could launch a project, from a standing start, with an single speech at a media conference or similar moment picked for its timing as much as its occasion. From that time on the campaign had traction and credibility. Blake was very astute, always surrounding himself with good people - and at the early stages of any project had Peter Montgomery and Alan Sefton fully onside. Those three were a formidable communications team, which never really took a backward step.
Blake was often described as a 'PR Dream', because that is what he was. Certainly he was first of his peers to grasp how a professional sailing team could be made to work and be sustainable. The model he devised, along with trusted friends, stands good today.
Blake oozed confidence and credibility.
In our eyes Peter Blake stood out because of the way that he could conduct the media like his personal orchestra to communicate his message to the world, sponsors and fans and never lost the high ground.
Puma supporter during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Cape Town stopover. Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
He has been sadly missed, but the real lesson for young sailors - while in Blake's leadership for sure, is more in his communication ability and style. Until you have understood the art of communication, and can use it naturally, you cannot achieve true leadership.
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