By Brian Hancock
We are well into the second week maggoties. That’s a nautical saying by the way. It’s when the excitement of the start and the first week at sea turns into the second week at sea and the realisation of what lies ahead really starts to loom large. It’s a flipping long way to sail around the world on a boat blown only by the wind. The second week maggoties started to kick in when, as the crew on White Shadow, the Swan 57 out of Spain put it plainly, their toast came with a side of penicillin, in other word it had turned mouldy.
You know that you are well into the second week maggoties when there is no wind and your ETA is sometime in 2025, and that’s just into Cape Town. But chin up guys (and girls) there is nothing quite as refreshing as a mid-ocean swim as the South Africans on Sterna found out to their pleasure. They are working the Fun O’ Meter as hard as they can but simply can’t keep up with the real professionals on Godspeed who clearly smelled sardines being grilled on an open fire and found an excuse to pull into Portugal. You’ve got to love this lot. I guess their boom needed to be repaired – nice excuse.
Now back to the serious bit of this awesome adventure; the McIntrye Ocean Globe Race. There is still very close racing among the leading (breakaway) pack. Spirit of Helsinki is chomping at the stern of Pen Duick VI while Maiden is doing much the same to their east. Skipper Heather Thomas has Translated 9 firmly in her sights. At the latest Yellow Brick report less than 50 miles separated the two boats. Maiden could eat 50 miles for lunch if they wanted to.
But let’s not discount the feisty gang on L’Esprit d’équipe who have forged their own path and while they are not closing in on the leaders they are fending off the rest of the fleet. Just behind them Neptune skippered by Tanneguy Raffray and Triana (yes we know the they lost some time airlifting Stéphane Raguenes off the boat and to a hospital that can treat his injuries), but the two boats are in a close race.
If it seems like I am rambling on a bit it’s because I am. Almost all the boats are enjoying pleasant sailing conditions, well except the occasional squall, but now is the time to stock up on sleep. Tricky times lie ahead.