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Day 178

By Brian Hancock

The fleet is all slip sliding away (thank you Paul Simon – I wish that I was clever enough to come up with that line). They are slip sliding into different wind conditions and this may play out for the rest of the leg. Let’s look at things. The three musketeers. Pen Duick VI, Translated 9 and Spirit of Helsinki have found themselves a donga, as we say in South Africa. A big bloody hole in the wind. At last check none of them were doing more than two knots of boat speed. There is no wind. Time to break out the bathing suits and drop a hook over the side. There are plenty of mahi mahi in that part of the Atlantic so they might as well make good of a bad situation. It’s going to improve (if you call it that). They are close to a high pressure system which if it moves west, they are going to get slammed with headwinds and the mahi mahi will come back out the same way they went in, so to speak.

To my eye, from the comfort of my couch, Maiden is looking good. They have some decent wind coming over their starboard bow. As does Neptune who is currently leading in Line Honors. Tanneguy Raffray and his crew have done a brilliant job threading the needle and it has paid off in spades.

The teams can get weather information right up until the start, but once the start gun fires it’s up to each to make the best of what they have got and as we all know, the wind gods have a weird sense of humour (a bit like my first wife) and they can deal cards from the back of the pack as much as they like. It looks like Maiden, Neptune and Triana, who are leading the Adventure Class are poised to make some hay in the next few days, but we will see.

My South African mates on Sterna have gone a little walkabout and they are playing the hand that they have been dealt having to tack back and forth with the headwinds. White Shadow has done a great job and is also in a good position to take advantage of any new wind that comes their way.

As I have said before, sailing around the world is like one huge chess board, although chess seems easier because the board is stable, not constantly shifting. Let’s just see how it all plays out and no, I don’t know what’s going on with Explorer. Don and Jane are in the air but it looks like they may have a hankering for some more beef. The YB Tracker shows them bow-on to the land but by tomorrow I will have an update. There is a counter current coming down the coast and they may just have anchored to stay put otherwise the current will sweep them back toward Punta.

Take care all you friends and neighbours out there. Tricky sailing coming your way. Make the best of what you got and sail fast and sail safe.

Don’s Daily Tracker Update

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