By Brian Hancock
What a spectacular start from Auckland. The great thing about the Internet is that anyone, anywhere in the world could watch it live and I watched it from my warm couch in Massachusetts and was just so happy that I was not on board one of the boats; been there, done that, a few times. I am going to watch Netflix and chill and open a bag of popcorn.
The dock send-off was just awesome, as was the start. This is about the best that you can get for a race start; blue skies, decent wind and a fleet of yachts looking like they were walking the red carpet at the Oscars.
Marie Tabarly, skipper on Pen Duick VI had a bone in her teeth and they were just rocking it. So were the maidens on Maiden. I saw them roll Translated 9 which might have damaged some Italian egos but we love that crew as well and it’s a long way to Punte del Este.
The fleet had some gates to go through before getting to the open ocean but they would be out to sea before dark. Looking on the Yellow Brick tracker, Pen Duick VI, Translated 9 and Spirit of Helsinki are rocking it at the front of the fleet, all boats averaging over 10 knots in a steady northerly breeze. Yes, Translated 9 rolled back over Maiden but they are not that far ahead. There is a new co-skipper on Translated 9; Simon Curwen and I am sure that he is determined to make up the time penalty they lost on Leg 2.
The real star of the day is White Shadow, the Swan 57 skippered by Jean-Christophe Petit. While it doesn’t look like (on the YB Tracker) that they are in the lead, on a Distance to Finish (DTF) basis, and that’s the only number that counts, they are leading the fleet overall. Good for them.
The weather is going to get a little tricky ahead. That nice northerly is going to swing to the east making for some fun upwind sailing, you know the kind of fun you like when you get hit in the face by cold water. And it’s only going to get worse. Whatever happened to those strong westerlies that Don promised in the brochure. I would ask for my money back if I were you. But before Don strokes the check, wait a bit, they will kick in and the mechanical bull ride to Cape Horn will make like just as much fun as you had hoped for. Good luck all OGR sailors.
By the way, and this not about me, it’s about the great sailors in this event, the x-rays showed no broken bones but the doc was a little worried that I had hit my head. She said, “once you get over 60 the brain starts to shrink (duh), and that means that there is more room up there for things to slosh around.” So if my updates start to get a little wonky let me know.
Still no takers on the cat?