By Brian Hancock
Let’s look at the big picture and start with Sterna. Those South African brothers of mine have put the grill (braai) away, and are holding onto their shirts; and pants. That cold wind biting wind is coming up from the south and I’m betting that they have stowed their flip-flops for another day. Probably makes sense. When I wore my flip flops in the Southern Ocean I slip-slided around the deck like a penguin that had been tossed out of the nest. I then tried my Crocs (who ever invented those hideous things?). They are dangerous on a wet deck in the southern seas. But I digress.
Pen Duick VI and Translated 9 are having a hoolie (nautical term), they are having a hoolie of a time just legging it out on the rest of the fleet. Last check on the Yellow Brick Road tracker they were averaging over 9 knots. As I have explained before, an average of 9 knots means a full on frontal speed (sorry Tracy) of 20 knots as you go down a wave, then you sit and wallow like a jilted teenager waiting for the next one to come along. Four knots or so in the trough. So it evens out in the end and that’s why it’s called an average.
The explorers on Explorer are about to explore some breeze. They are just getting into the thick of things. Neptune, skippered by the talented Tan Raffray, have decided to dip a little further south. Seems like a good idea from what I can see. Maiden is cooking along. They are just 10 miles ahead of Spirit of Helsinki which is great since they are a much smaller boat, but in all fairness, a more modern design and much lighter boat so that might account for their Southern Ocean speed. That, plus they have awesome sailors aboard.
Galiana WithSecure with the great Tapio at the helm (how does he even do that, he’s my age and should be on the couch reading a book, like me), but anyway, I digress (again). Galiana are taking it on the chin and making the most of it. Maiden, love the crew on Maiden, they have also chosen to dip south in search of more breeze. They could leave some flowers in the water for Spirit of Helsinki who are just a few miles behind them (astern I guess is the correct term) and will cross their wake any time now. Wouldn’t that be great? Imagine sailing through the Southern Ocean and finding flowers floating on the ocean just for you, but who knew to pack flowers?
I heard that the heater on Maiden had broken. Now here’s the thing about heaters. They do warm the interior but they also cause a lot of condensation. When I sailed those jolly waters, also known as the Southern Ocean, we decided to turn the heater off because, while the cold was bad, the condensation that was constantly dripping from the overhead caused by the warm air from the heater was even worse. Life is a gamble and we took our chances. Either frozen feet or a wet sleeping bag; or in many cases both.
Things are fairly settled for the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race fleet, except for the cold and the wet. It could be worse so let’s leave it there. Sail safe guys and girls and all of the intrepid adventurers who are sailing like it’s 1973. There is still a lot of fun ahead.