Please select your home edition
Edition
Sea Sure 2020 - SHOCK-WBV - LEADERBOARD

Round-the-world solo sailor steers clear of her fears

by Suzanne McFadden 25 Jan 22:25 PST
Single-handed sailor Elana Connor sails her 10.4m yacht Windfola down the North Island's east coast, past Motukokako Island off Cape Brett. © Photo supplied

A change of plans for round-the-world single-handed sailor Elana Connor means she's helping Kiwi kids in foster care to go sailing - as she also seeks to 'demystify' the sport for women.

Elana Connor wears a silver necklace engraved with the word “Fearlessness”. As she sails solo around the globe, it reminds her that her voyage is not about abandoning her fears, but “not letting fear drive the boat”.

It’s an important reminder for someone who gets “anxious and heart-racy and is afraid of everything” - as she makes an unexpected detour in her plans with a figure-eight circumnavigation of New Zealand.

And it's a memento she clung to as she sailed down the rugged, remote west coast of the South Island, barely sleeping as she battled problems with the engine and GPS electronics on her 10.4m yacht, Windfola.

The glitches meant she could only snatch 20 minutes of sleep at a time, before getting up and scouting the horizon for ships, and making sure she wasn’t headed on a collision course with the steep cliffs of Fiordland.

Her sole companion, a tiny rescue dog named Zia, is a great alarm dog when dolphins or whales are in the vicinity – but not an effective replacement for the radius alarm that usually sounds if a ship is approaching (providing Connor's GPS signals are working).

But Connor seems to thrive on challenges, especially at sea. “What I probably love the most about sailing on my own is when you’re out there driving the boat and you’re dealing with a situation, you just have to be in it. The survival instinct kicks in,” Connor says.

“Even in difficult situations, where I’m scared or anxious, the fear doesn’t take over my body as much as it does on shore. When I get close to land I get nervous - it feels dangerous. But out there on the ocean, you just have to keep doing stuff.”

For the full story from Newsroom, click here.

Related Articles

Big fleet of 70 boats for 65th Zephyr Nationals
70 boats for 2021 Zephyr dinghy sailing class yacht coveted national championship The 2021 Zephyr dinghy sailing class yacht coveted national championship is being held at the Manly Sailing Club, Whangaparaoa, Auckland 9th to 12th April. Posted on 9 Apr
The incredible record of a Tauranga bred sailor
Brian Petersen has sailed plenty of ocean miles, and his next target is a race home to Tauranga. The incredible record of a Tauranga bred sailor, current owner of “V5”, a TP52 entered in the Farmer Autovillage Auckland to Tauranga Centennial Yacht Race starting at 0900 on Saturday 27th of March 2021. Posted on 9 Mar
Join the Tiwal inflatable dinghy adventure circuit
The Tiwal owners community can look forward to a series of rally style adventures this summer. New Years Eve, 2021 and it is near perfect weather: My partner and I left it till 5pm to decide to sail our TIWAL dinghies to Rangitoto Island and climb to the top for the midnight fireworks show. Posted on 19 Feb
High Performance Yacht Design Conference: sign up
Part of the events schedule of the America's Cup is the 7th High Performance Yacht Design Conference In the middle of the busy schedule of events surrounding the America's Cup, Auckland will once again play host to the High Performance Yacht Design conference. Posted on 19 Feb
America's Cup: Test your knowledge against the TAB
Fans now have the opportunity to test their America's Cup knowledge against the TAB's bookmakers Fans now have the opportunity to test their America's Cup knowledge against the bookmakers at the TAB and maybe make a return of a few lazy dollars. The TAB explains how they set the prices, and how these have changed since the America's Cup World Series. Posted on 12 Feb
Immaculate Elliott 1600 Tourer offered for sale
This Elliott 1600 is brilliantly set up for short-handed sailing and is ready for new owners. Greg Elliott's Tourer series are some of the most sought-after boats in New Zealand and the world. For cruising – be it coastal or trans-oceanic – they are as good as yachts get. Posted on 27 Jan
Entries open in French Bay Regatta
French Bay in Titirangi is is a hidden gem that those that know and love the bay already appreciate. Entries are now open in the French Bay Regatta on Saturday 13 February. Posted on 25 Jan
John Spencer's design contribution celebrated
One of NZ's great designers and boat builders, John Spencer was the focus of the annual exhibition One of New Zealand's great designers and boat builders, John Spencer was the focus of the annual exhibition by the Rino Tawa Trust. The display featured a range of design memorabilia along with many examples of his dinghy designs. Posted on 8 Nov 2020
Exhibition to celebrate John Spencer's designs
The exhibition will be held this weekend at Karanga Plaza, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland. John Spencer was a champion of the amateur boatbuilder and a special exhibition will be held in the Wynyard Quarter in Auckland this weekend to celebrate his work. Posted on 5 Nov 2020
New Zealand's top marinas and boatyards celebrated
The NZMOA recognised Best Boatyard, Best Environmental and Individual Contribution The New Zealand Marina Operators Association (NZMOA) has recognised New Zealand's very best marinas and boatyards for 2020. Posted on 2 Nov 2020
C-Tech 2020 Battens 2 728x90 BOTTOMCyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTERSelden 2020 - FOOTER