Chris Hornell’s TP52 Kia Kaha and his crew have arrived safety back in Opua after what they are describing as the “longest Coastal Classic” they have ever done.

At 1030 hours on Monday 9 June, ANZ Sail Fiji Race Management reported that Kia Kaha was retiring from the race due to minor damage.

Sail Fiji LOGOS 35

That damage turned more serious when Hornell requested 2 hourly interval positioning reports with Maritime NZ. At this time Race Management requested that their yellowbrick tracker be changed to 5 minute updates.

The minor damage reported turned out to be suspected issue with the keels bulb.

“At first we thought we had weed on the keel so sent down the kelp cutter but that didn’t seem to fix the issue. So then we slowed the boat down and sent a crew member over to check it out. Then we knew that we needed to turn around and head home,” said an exhausted Hornell.

“The bulbs bolts had started to come away,” continued Hornell.

But all was not lost and it wasn’t a total disaster with the crew staying in complete control and assessing the situation like professionals.

Safety is paramount for this race, and all the ANZ Sail Fiji safety protocols were put into place.

Manuela, wife of Chris Hornell, was anxious to have her husband, the crew and the boat, safety back in Opua.

“I baked bread and soup all morning and the first thing they said to me when they arrived home was ‘We’d rather have steak!!'” laughed Manuela.

Kia Kaha arriving back in Opua to some rather bleak weather

When asked if Kia Kaha would take on another race, Hornell was enthusiastic with his response.

“Absolutely. We will be back. The crew are keen for more!

“It’s a bugger that we aren’t going to be in Fiji for the party! We should be in the tropics!!” said Hornell.