Winds take kayaker off course

Kayakers ready to welcome Scott Donaldson home

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014
Scott Donaldson
ANDY JACKSON/ Fairfax NZ

WELCOMING PARTY: All set to greet solo kayaker Scott Donaldson who is expected to land in Taranaki next week sometime. From left, Brendan Hartigan, Peter Bennett, Bronnie Van Lith, Peter Van Lith, Herb Spannagl, Sue Spannagl and Martin Rook.

Scott Donaldson
GIVEN UP: Scott Donaldson
Scott Donaldson
APPROXIMATE COURSE: Scott Donaldson's route from Australia to New Zealand.
Scott Donaldson
WIND DILEMMA: The wind is pushing Scott Donaldson away from his intended place of arrival.
Scott Donaldson
SECOND ATTEMPT: Scott Donaldson at sea.

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Kayaker Scott Donaldson may overshoot his planned landing spot of Port Taranaki and end up at the top of the South Island if winds don't ease up.

Peter van Lith is organising a flotilla of kayakers to greet Donaldson when he arrives in Taranaki - which may not be for another week because of offshore winds.

"If he doesn't get closer in the next few days, I'd say he'd be out there for another week," van Lith, the owner of Canoe and Kayak Taranaki, said. "He won't be able to make any progress against the wind."

Donaldson's planned landing spot was Port Taranaki but if the wind kept pushing him south, he could end up landing at Cape Egmont, or even Abel Tasman National Park at the tip of the South Island, van Lith said.

"I'd be going for the nearest piece of land if I was him."

Donaldson's wife, Sarah, said yesterday she couldn't say when or where he'd be arriving. "Your guess is as good as mine."

He has been at sea 80 days since leaving Coffs Harbour, in New South Wales.

Herb Spannagl paddled out to meet Australian duo Justin Jones and James Castrission in 2008, who made history when they became the first people to successfully kayak across the Tasman.

Spannagl and a crew of kayakers were all set to do the same for Donaldson. "We've got all our gear prepared and ready for the call.

They paddled out about 12km to meet the Aussies but that was in benign weather not the middle of winter, Spannagl said.

At this stage Donaldson would be fighting a mental battle as well as physical.

"I was looking out the window the other morning and thought, ‘Poor bugger, I'm comfortably here and he's out in those big waves'."

*For updates on Scott Donaldson's progress visit www.doubleditch.co.nz

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