Hi, Hiroshi Horiuchi here. As a member of the JORA staff, I’ll be reporting regularly on our activities in France and as suggested by Kitada San, this will present as a type of diary.
I departed Haneda Airport on September 26th and it was all a bit of a rush. Having left China only the day before, I arrived back in Osaka, only to head for Tokyo. Ms Shimizu was at the airport and had a case for me to deliver to Kitada San. I apologized for being late- and was on my way.
This was the first time that I’d been to the Haneda International Airport. What I saw impressed me although this time I really didn’t have much time to look around.
My destination was Paris. I’d been there 20 years ago as a backpacker and remember the excitement there, as France had won the World Cup. Strangely enough I’m here for the 2nd time and of course France has just won it again. Is this just a coincidence – or some sort of miracle ?
On this occasion, I’m here in support of Kitada San and his Class 40 called KIHO, entered in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe(RDR). I’ll be writing articles as a member of the JORA team.
Apart from checking out all the activity in our French home port of Lorient and assisting with preparation of KIHO, I’m keen to see if I can measure up to sailing the Class 40 with a view to future events.
Over the course of 20 years, I got married and increased my social responsibility, but my feelings are not so different from that time. Maybe I will continue doing such a crazy & cool things with my heart beating until I die.
After arriving at CDG Airport after a 12 hour flight I headed to the Press Conference feeling just like a correspondent. Meeting up with Kitada San, I also met Patrizia our French interpreter, Sakurada San a member of our team from Brussels and our photographer Yabe San.
I may have mentioned before that Kitada San had introduced the idea of me coming to France a while back. Other than being excited by the opportunity of making the trip, I was also challenged that one way or the other, I may get an opportunity of sailing solo across the Atlantic myself. Seeing as I have only ever done in-shore racing with a full crew, this was really beyond my imagination.
I guess the starting point for all of this came about with my involvement in helping deliver Bartolome to Melbourne for the Osaka Cup late last year. It opened up Ocean Sailing to me. Then of course Ian and George from the Osaka Cup organizing Committee, involved me in the media for this event. Thanks to them both for the opportunity.
Alongside this is the fact that as a member of OHYC, my home club, I was heavily involved in the arrival of the Melbourne Osaka fleet after their 5,500 NM journey.Not only did I get to associate with these great competitors but I also mixed with the many family and friends who’d come up to see them. Following this, I have gained a new respect for the Ocean Racing community and wish to join this myself someday.
Now I have been given an opportunity by Kitada San to advance my experience by becoming a member of this team here in France. Beginning with the introduction to all this by Kei San, the skipper of Bartolome, I’ve started with no experience at all and will do my best in the challenge ahead of me.
I also am truly grateful to my family who give me the chance to follow my dream. Having spent some time in France now and watching the sailing community around me, I can see the start of my dream turning into reality.
I can only imagine the pressure that Kitada San faces. Like I felt during the Osaka Cup, this type of event is just not easy. Kitada San no doubt knew this when he became involved in The Transat and he is also challenging the next generation to join this community.
I see it as my responsibility to help increase the awareness of these events and increase the number of friends that surround it both in Japan and elsewhere. That’s my mission.