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Day 171

By Brian Hancock

Well I guess that I was wrong. I was sure that Translated 9 would be safely tucked up in Punta by now but the wind gods have a cheeky side to them and they are dealing with light headwinds. Very frustrating when you are so close yet so far. At last check on the Yellow Brick tracker they were still 45 agonizing miles from the finish in Uruguay.

A couple of things here. When your DTF (distance to finish) is 45 miles but you have headwinds, you probably have close to 80 miles to sail as you zig and zag your way like someone who has had a pint too many trying to find their way home from the pub. There is, however, some fairly decent news coming their way. The wind is supposed to swing to the south which would allow them to set their biggest spinnaker and arrive in pure Italian style.

Their plan, as I understand it, is to cross the finish line to officially complete Leg 3 but then immediately go back out again (without a cold beer) and sail 20 miles down the coast where they can have the boat hauled and their repairs that were done in the Falklands inspected. Time is of the essence here. Leg 4 starts on Tuesday March 5. They have to get the boat hauled, inspected, and then haul a** back to Punta in time to get their safety inspections done before they can start Leg 4. Sailing around the world can be a tricky balance; ask Joshua Slocum.

Now for those that dont know Slocum was the first person to sail single-handed around the world. Yes the great Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the first person to do it solo non-stop, but I digress. Slocum was in Tierra del Fuego when he kept being boarded by thieves. Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, Slocum was no fool. He decided to take matters into his own hands. Tired of being boarded he laid out a packet of thumb tacks on his deck, pointy side up. When the thieves came in the night, well you figure it out. He didn’t have any more problems with thieves after that. My point is you have to roll with the punches if you are going to make it safely around our small spinning planet.

Meanwhile in Punta there is a lot of hustle and bustle going on. Most of the maintenance will have been done by now. It’s time to chuck the groceries on board and make a mental note of where the capers have been stowed. The crews should be well rested and eager to hit the road (err sea) and start the leg back to England. It’s going to be a tricky one tactically with the South Atlantic High shifting back and forth and giving them some headwinds and some heartburn.

Since today is February 29 we get a free day to do and say what we want; no names mentioned. Back in the way back machine while doing a Whitbread Race when there was only single-sideband radio to communicate we had an issue with our doctor. While in Auckland he had been a little more than intimate with Ms. Teen New Zealand but had to admit to Skip, our skipper, that he had caught crabs (nasty buggers – technical term). Skip made him call her to tell her of the situation but of course it being SSB radio everyone in the fleet could hear the call and (said doctor) had a very distinct voice so everyone would know who it was. Fast forward two decades. Said doctor wrote a book about sexual addiction. The guy was brilliant by the way. He wrote about how to overcome his addiction and ended up on a morning TV show. Guess what. He ended up going home with the female host. “Life Hey.”

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