By Brian Hancock
Two things in today’s update today. Well, actually three things but let’s start with the business at hand. There is some serious breeze blowing down the Chilean coast and it’s going to hook Pen Duick VI and Translated 9 just like Muhammad Ali nailed George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle. It’s one of my favourite memories growing up and if you are too young to remember it, YouTube it. And while you are on YouTube check out Don McIntyre’s great YB tracker updates. Anyway, I digress.
There are some strong, as in really strong northerlies ahead of them, but (according to the YB Tracker and Windy) the weather may ease up a little and allow them to slip around that corner without too much trouble. It’s a stunning cape to see but it’s hard to see with salt in your eyes, unless, of course it’s tears and if I can make make a confession here, I cried the first time I rounded Cape Horn, but then, I cried the first time I saw the movie Finding Nemo.
Second point; I was going to get to this yesterday but the bottle of Chardonnay with our Sunday lunch had me lose my train of thought. This is in reference to the waypoints. Just so you know, Don and Jane didn’t go out there and launch a buoy (although I wouldn’t have put it past them to do so.) They are just there as a line of latitude and of longitude. The fleet knows where they are and the race officials can track them to make sure that they honour them (and fine them if they don’t – and whip them like I got whipped with a bamboo stick when I was a kid). Having said that, in the earlier versions of the race there were no waypoints and were were able to sail as far south as we wanted. And I remind you here, we were not that smart.
There were times when we were not paying attention so that the winches would freeze solid with ice. Also the little place where you put the winch handle in would also freeze so that you couldn’t insert a winch handle. Which was all OK until the navigator yelled, “iceberg ahead.” This usually happened at night and we would be dozing in the cockpit. Someone had to dash below and put the kettle on. It was a time-on-distance kind of standoff. We needed to thaw the winches so that we could either gybe or take some sails down. Oh and one last thing about icebergs. Never pass them to leeward. That’s where the bergy bits (also known as growlers) lurk just below the surface and if you hit one of them it could be lights out for you and your crew. Pass the iceberg to WINDWARD. If you ever find yourself in that same situation and you can thank me later.
Now I can’t remember what my third point was but there is always tomorrow. I added the rest of the bottle of Chardonnay to my granola for breakfast this morning and this is the kind of thing that happens.
Sail safe, sail fast and be kind.