By Brian Hancock
I just think that it’s amazing that after almost 6,000 miles of offshore racing two boats can practically be in sight of each other each battling their way up the Argentina coast. Maiden and Spirit of Helsinki. Let me slow down for a moment. Maiden is skippered by the great Heather Thomas and she has a wonderful crew. Really great and very diversified for which I think that Tracy Edwards did an amazing job to pull it all together. Then there is Spirit of Helsinki (what a great city that is by the way – I have been there many times) The are just six miles behind them according to the Yellow Brick Road. How much fun is this? A bunch of Finns chasing a bunch of Maidens. For my part it’s not that easy to come up a new story every day but when you you get handed this kind of good material on a platter on a Monday morning you just have to smile. It’s all good stuff, just as is racing around the world on a small sailboat and having the time of your life. Now what do I have left to say? Life hey?”
Oh yes, I almost forget those smelly South Africans are closing in on Cape Horn. They are almost at the Big Turning Mark. I don’t have this on first hand authority, but I believe that there might be a flip flop chucking overboard ceremony. If you are ever down that way and see some penguins wearing flip flops you will know where they came from.
Next is Explorer. They are making tracks with a healthy north northwesterly breeze coming in hard. (I am not going to apologise to the great Tracy Edwards this time – the wind sometimes comes in hard and that’s life as an ocean racer), but let me digress.
I have spent more than a lot of time in Chile, and what a wonderful country that is, well except for the time they had a dictatorship but even then the food and drink was beyond excellent. Which leads me to my aside. Pisco Sour. Two words that will rumble around in your stomach for months. Let me explain. A Pisco Sour is a four part series. First there is Pisco, a clear liquid that may or may not have some alcohol content. Well let me be more precise. They could launch the Space Shuttle with just one bottle. So to the Pisco, you add the egg whites of two goose eggs. Then sugar. That helps with the fermenting process. Let it sit for a bit while you look for a piece of glacial ice. Always better with glacial ice. Now let me continue, if you will indulge me.
If you are sitting in the Andes Mountains overlooking Cape Horn, a Pisco Sour is about the best thing that you have ever had (sorry Janet Bradley who owns the awesome King and Queen pub in the Hamble where I hope that these intrepid sailors will gather at the end of this great adventure). Back to me. If you sitting there with a few of your Gaucho friends, horses nuzzling at your side, a Pisco Sour goes down long and cool. Now, however, if you buy a bottle of Pisco a the Duty Free in Buenos Aries and take it back to your suburban home in Marblehead, Massachusetts, crack some chicken eggs and add ice from the freezer it tastes like cra*p. Some things need to be left where they were first enjoyed. But I digress.
Marie Tabarly is booking it (nautical term) up the coast and is just 225 miles from the finish in Punte del Este. They have really had an awesome leg. It seems to me that without Translated 9 hunting them every day, they went faster. Maiden and SOH are just over 500 miles out. It’s going to be a horse race and if I was a betting man (which I am not) I would stick $50 bucks and the Maidens, but you never know, which is why I don’t bet.
OK, enough for today. Again, as my friend Simon le Bon wrote, “Grey Lady Blow your Ships back home.” Thank you for reading.