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Day 163

By Brian Hancock

It has been a long night for those in Uruguay managing this great adventure. Evrika came in at sunset and what a beautiful sight that was. All sails set and a crew smiling as much as anyone could possibly smile. They deserved it and they earned it and I congratulate them all. Well done to you all and you looked happy.

Let me just jump in here for a moment. I guess that I can because I am the one writing this but I just want to say no matter when you arrive or how you arrive, in my opinion you are all winners. You have sailed three quarters of the way around the world and you are safely back on land with everyone on board and the yacht intact. To anyone who has sailed long distances you know that it’s hard to keep it all together, but to manage two Southern Ocean legs; plus one and a half, it’s something to pat yourself on the back on. It’s far from easy.

Then in the early, very early hours of the morning White Shadow rocked up looking a bit tattered and torn; literally. You could see, even in the dark that their mainsail was ripped from luff to leech. I am not sure when it happened but the headstay let go (never a good thing) and clocked (nautical term) the main and ripped it to shreds. That may account for their slow progress but until I have more details I will leave it at that. Well, other than to say that they have some work to be done in Punta.

This reminds me of a story (wouldn’t you have guessed). In the ’81/82 Whitbread, back when I was a foredeck nipper, the great and humble Conny van Rietschoten, owner and skipper of flyer (who won in ’77/78 race and again in ’81/82) took along a doctor, the great Julian Fuller – wonderful person by the way. He made it clear to Julian that if anything happened to him during the race that here would be no mention of it. “The first thing the other competitors will know of it is when they see my body bag floating by.” That’s what he said. So much in the spirit of this event. I bumped into Connie at the airport in Lisbon quite a few years later. He was pretty old (he’s gone now sadly) but when he saw me his face lit up. It was like I was a memory from his past; a past that he relished and had lived with every fibre of his being. What’s that saying? “old sailors never die. They just go back in time.” I just made that up by the way. Pretty good huh?

So, not to repeat myself by I am going to repeat myself (I can’t help myself…🙂 congratulations to all of those sailors in the OGR that have made it safely to the beautiful city of Punte del Este and safe sailing to all the rest of you still out there. Clip on (I never did but I was young and dumb) and remember, ‘one hand for you and one hand for the boat.’

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