By Brian Hancock
The crew on Explorer are still enjoying champagne sailing as they make their way up the Tasman. A steady 10-15 from behind (sorry Tracy) and a spinnaker flying. There is a pothole ahead that could cause some extra grey hair, but that’s life. I have hit so many potholes, literally and figuratively in my 65, almost 66 years that there is no more room for any more gray up top there. By the way, asking for a friend, is it spelled gray or grey?
Sterna, well they are trucking along in a good old fashioned South African way. “Just make tracks each and every day,” is how my Mum put it. “One foot in front of the other.” I think that she might have wanted me to become a doctor, but instead I became a sailor. I didn’t mean to, but sometimes things just happen and for the 45 or so years since I left South Africa to go sailing it has been a charmed life.
I have met two kings (of Norway and Spain), one princess, as in Diana, who was and will always be the Peoples Princess who was more beautiful in real life than in photos. I have met more senators than I care to remember and I almost got to meet a US president, until some wank*r shot him and President Reagan had to cancel our little shindig at the White House. Pity because I heard that they have good snacks there but probably a good thing because at the time I was one of those “Illegal Immigrants.” More about the princess in later update.
Let’s talk about Translated 9. Now this boat had a huge effect on my life, well to be more specific, the original skipper had a huge effect on who I was to become. Clare Francis did the single-handed Transatlantic race back in 1976. She was cute and blonde. She is still cute but a little older (we all are) but I was so impressed as a young kid that I started dreaming of sailing around the world. She wrote a great book called “Come Hell or High Water.” It’s sitting in my bookshelf right next to where I am writing this.
Clare went on to skipper ADC Accutrac in the ’77/78 Whitbread with a mixed crew, meaning both men and women. That boat is now Translated 9 and I’m told that it has been immaculately restored. I didn’t go on board in Southampton, I was too shy to ask and as pathetic as this sounds, having sailed over a quarter million miles, offshore, I was too shy to say hi to Clare at the Veteran’s Dinner a couple of days before the start of Leg One. True story.
Let’s just keep going. The boats and sailors will be back at sea soon and there will be new memories and new stories. Now I have to face the music and get my car inspected.