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Day 175

By Brian Hancock

The day before the start is always fairly hectic. Do we have enough toilet paper on board? Did someone remember the matches? There is a lot that goes into the race around the world. Back in my ‘Drum’ days we were given one small bag and were told, “fit what you can in the bag and if it doesn’t fit, you probably don’t need it.”

It was definitely a good point and a good lesson for life. I mean, how much crap do we need? I am in my mid-sixties, (although people still think I am 25). I have been trying to shed clutter from my life so I say to my friends in the OGR, less is more. However, having said that, just don’t run out of food, and more importantly, don’t run out of coffee. I have a wife who is two different people; before coffee and after coffee. Hansel and Gretel if you will. I personally don’t drink coffee but I have witnessed first hand the effect of a caffeine-free crew and it’s not a pretty sight.

There has been a lot of hustle and bustle in Punta and not all of it focused on the boat. There has been time for celebration. A prize giving, some general nonsense and some fantastic parties hosted by the Punta del Este Yacht Club. All in all Uruguay has put on an amazing stopover for these great sailors in this great adventure. Starting tomorrow Don will be mentioning my books; I have written 19 and hopefully you will jump in and enjoy some of them but for now I have one last anecdote to keep you amused while we wait for the Big Day.

I have mentioned the Mercado del Puerto in Montevideo before. It’s probably one of my most favourite places to eat anywhere on this planet and I have been a few places. I was having dinner there one time a long time ago but I have not forgotten it. This really beautiful lady (I don’t know what you call a woman these days without stepping on a few toes). Anyway this beautiful person sat opposite me. She ordered a salad and a glass of sparkling water. I knew right then and there how she kept her beautiful figure. She was slight and toned. I thought to myself, “good for her.” I was piling into a plate of mostly meat; not a lettuce leaf to be found.

The waitstaff seemed to know her. When she was done with her salad they came over with a slab of beef the size of Mount Kilimanjaro and a (filled to the brim) carafe of red wine. I was mesmerized. She mowed down the steak and flattened the carafe in no time. So much for lettuce leaves.

OK, enough of my digressions. The racing is about to get underway again. Tuesday is a big day. It looks like (according to Windy) that it’s going to be a halfway decent first couple of days with spinnakers flying and a steady breeze from behind, but it’s going to turn to mush (technical term) a few days in. Headwinds and calms await. It will be time to see who come up roses at the finish off the Royal Yacht Squadron in England.

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