By Brian Hancock
I survived. I even made it until midnight but only because Anderson Cooper was getting drunk in Time Square and I wanted to see what happened with him and then watch that ridiculous ball drop. But, yet again, I digress. Oh, by the way, my first New Year’s Eve in America I drove to New York to watch that ball drop and it wasn’t worth the price of gas that it cost me. But I did happen to see a lot of cops getting stoned, not as with real stones, the other kind. This was 44 years ago.
Things are looking good for the two remaining OGR boats; for now. Explorer is in a fairly decent southwesterly wind doing 5.2 knots. OK, they are not hitting it out of the ballpark but they are now only a Fastnet, Bermuda or Hobart Race away from the finish, which to the non sailors reading means around 650 miles. And those by the way are the classic races and I have done them all. The only good thing about a Newport to Bermuda Race is Newport and Bermuda. The bit in-between sucks.
Sterna are chundering along at a better than decent 8 knots with a tad over a 1,000 miles to go. I warned them that the Tasman Sea can be tricky. There are potholes everywhere. The high pressure to the north is giving them some good wind but there is some strange weather to the south of them. They are going to have to tip-toe carefully in the next few days.
Now, since I have some time before the start of Leg 3, let me introduce you to a New Zealand delicacy; the Mutton Bird. I may have used the word delicacy a little too liberally here. They are pretty nasty little buggers and I was tricked into having one with Kels and her father. Kels is helping Tracy Edwards manage the Maiden stopover in Auckland and she is brilliant at it. I bet that she is not suggesting a mutton bird dinner to Tracy but I bet that Tracy would go for it.
Now I am going to cut and paste here (thank you Wikipedia) because I could not have put it better myself. Here you go. “They have a bird-like flesh, and a salty ocean taste reminiscent of fish. We recommend washing the bird, and then bringing it to a slow boil in cold water.” Sounds delicious. Perfect New Years dinner.
It was all OK with me. I was once married to a lady from Iceland. There they eat two types of decomposed shark. The three month decomposed shark that tasted like three month old decomposed shark, but the nine month decomposed shark was a whole different experience. One word – ammonia. But it’s usually chased by a clear liquid that has been pleasantly named; Black Death. Quite appropriately. My two boys are half South African and half Icelandic. They seem ok (for now). So the mutton bird experience was a walk in the park for me. But nevertheless, if you find yourself hanging around a small bistro that specialises in mutton birds, I say go for it. You only live once.
Enjoy New Year’s Day wherever you are reading my drivel. Happy 2024.