By Brian Hancock
This is so exciting, for me at least and I hope for all of the followers of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. Pen Duick VI have rounded Cape Horn (safely) and that’s all one can hope for as race organisers. By the way I am not one of them; I am just a simple storyteller. Don and his team have been doing the hard lifting and deserve all the credit that they have earned. PD VI are around but checking the Yellow Brick tracker I see that Translated 9 are right there. Right there at that magical spot all sailors dream of and only the ones that put their pants on one foot at a time can achieve. It’s just a matter of having a goal. Seeing Cape Horn is a life changing moment and I have another story for you tomorrow about my second rounding. I mentioned yesterday about crying when I first rounded Cape Horn, and I did, but I hid it well from my crew mates.
So, no silly buggery with this update. This is a serious update because turning that corner and finally pointing your bow north is a major milestone (not like skydiving with a lesbian strapped to my back – oh sorry I said that and I was going to try and be serious.) By the way Pen Duick VI is leading in Line Honors and second in Flyer Class and Translated 9 is leading the Flyer Class. They got away from the pack early and have made some money and good for them. Marie Tabarly and her crew on PD VI are legging it out, and Simon Curwen and Marco Trombetti on Translated 9 are in hot pursuit, but I digress.
Once you round Cape Horn the navigators have a difficult decision to make and a lot of it is out of their hands. They need to decide whether they should cut between Isla del Estados (which is an island off the coast of Argentina) and the mainland, or go around the outside. The gap between is called the Strait of Le Maire. The tricky thing is this. The tide rips through there like your uncle rips through a fish fry on a Friday night. If you (the navigators that is) get it right then they can get a big boost in boat speed but it really depends on timing. If you get it wrong and the wind dies, which can happen because there is a massive wind shadow cast by the Andes Mountains, then things can go pear shaped pretty quickly and you end up going backwards. Never that much fun going backwards in an ocean race. Let’s just keep an eye on things and see what happens. Main thing is that two boats are safely around.
Coming up next are the maidens on Maiden. They are doing close to an average of 9 knots, but are about to hit those northerly winds coming down the west coast of Chile like former dictator Augusto Pinochet on his way to a rally with a carrot up his, well never mind. This is a serious post. There is going to be a tight bunch at Cape Horn with Neptune just 19 miles astern of Maiden and Spirit of Helsinki just 17 miles astern of Neptune with Triana not that far behind the three of them. Talk about close ocean racing on a global stage.
For the rest of the fleet it’s just another day at the office getting the job done one watch at a time, one day at a time. They are dealing with some southerlies which is not that pleasant because they find their origin in Antarctica, you know that balmy beach destination where you go and get piña coladas with umbrellas in them and a pool boy to hand you a warm towel after you have showered? Yup, there is no Club Med there.
Sterna and Explorer are in some decent westerlies and that’s what they paid their money for. Both boats look well positioned to get around the waypoint without any problems.
Let’s leave it at that. Another breakfast of Chardonnay and granola has me thinking about a nap. Good luck to all the great sailors in the McOGR. Sail safe, be kind, especially to your neighbors; they may be the ones that find you on the bathroom floor, but mostly be kind to your fellow competitors in the OGR. You might need them. Hancock out.