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Day 164

By Brian Hancock

Let me explain. Uruguay is not a rich country, but it’s a beautiful country and the people are beyond wonderful. If you go inland it’s mostly tundra with farms and people working the land. Now, how do I put this delicately? Punta del Este, while part of Uruguay, is not poor. It’s a haven for the rich that live in Buenos Aires. They vacation in Punta and for good reason; it’s beautiful. They have beautiful beaches, great food (steak with or without the skin on), fabulous seafood and, well, you know, everything that one might need to enjoy your summer holiday.

It’s even more festive now with the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race fleet in town. There is a lot of activity on the docks and fit sailors going about the business of readying their boats for the last leg of this grand adventure. All the boats have flags flying and the weather is hot. I haven’t been there in a while but there used to be a disco right by the dock. I dunno if it’s still there and I only went there once. Just so you know I don’t disco; never did, never will, but many (most) of the crews would go there and have fun and then have to walk the ‘walk of shame’ home in the morning. I mean, seriously, how much fun is racing a sailboat around the world? Dragging yourself back to the boat with a stinging hangover, clothes rumpled and some lady, whose name you can’t remember and in many cases couldn’t talk to because of the language issue already a distant memory. But I digress.

We still have three boats out there. They launched Translated 9 yesterday to check that the repairs were good. This has been a very tricky repair. For a start the Falklands is not like ending up in England. There’s no travel lift to help haul the boat. They managed to talk the captain of a cargo ship that had a crane into helping lift them out of the water. First they had to fashion a cradle out of scrap metal to put the boat on so that they could start the repairs. Then they had to rig up some way to stop the dust from their grinding from polluting the area. I don’t know if it was mandatory or just out of courtesy, but I am guessing the latter. Theses are OGR sailors afterall.

They relaunced the boat yesterday and will do some sail trials to make sure that the repair worked. Leg 4 of the OGR can also be brutal, in fact the worst weather I have ever encountered was in the Bay of Biscay a couple of days from the finish of my first Whitbread. In fact it was the only time that I have ever had to use a trysail, but don’t get me started on that. It’s a story for another day.

Sterna are just under 200 miles from the finish and the explorers on Explorer are 270 or so. Unfortunately both boats are dealing with headwinds so their progress has slowed, but that’s sailing for you. Sometimes you win and get the good breaks; other times you don’t. Let’s wish them (and Translated 9) safe passage into Punta where a fat steak with skin on awaits. Peace out all of the great sailors in the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race.

Don’s Daily Tracker Update

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