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Day 179

By Brian Hancock

The maidens on Maiden are legging it out and kicking some butt. To add to the fun it’s International Women’s Day. What a great time to be in the lead of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. Maiden took a middle course up the coast of South America and they played their cards well. Because of the headwinds fed by a pesky high pressure system to the east of them they found themselves coming up against solid land and have tacked back out to sea, but they are still well ahead of the rest of the fleet in Line Honours, IRC and the Flyer Class. Heather Thomas and her crew are doing a superb job.

The outlaws on Outlaw are also sailing a great race and at last check on the Yellow Brick Tracker they are 8 miles ahead of Pen Duick VI on a distance to finish (DTF) basis. PDVI, along with Translated 9 and Spirit of Helsinki took an eastern option and for now it hasn’t paid out much money and it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better anytime soon. That’s the nature of yacht racing. I mentioned in earlier reports that the Southern Ocean can be a beast, but so can the trip up the coast to the equator. I’m personally glad that I am not on board. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

It has got to be a bumpy ride out there for all of the fleet. Headwinds can make a day at the office a bit of a challenge. For a start it’s wet, on deck and down below. No matter how hard you try, water gets down below and life is damp. It’s also at a tilt so getting around is a definite case of ‘one hand for me and one hand for the boat’ otherwise you are going to be flung across the saloon. Say nothing of the constant slamming as the boat deals with the waves and of course, each slam comes with a loud din down below. Did I mention that I already have the T-shirt.

Since it’s International Women’s Day I wanted to give a huge shout out to Cole Brauer who just became the first American sailor to sail single-handed, non-stop around the world. She was participating in the Global Solo Challenge and sailed into La Coruna, Spain with flares ablaze. She delayed her arrival until first light because First Light is the name of her boat. Well done Cole, you sailed an amazing race, inspired a huge following on Instagram and have become an integral part of the world wide web of offshore ocean racing.

And lastly to the indomitable Jane Zhou who along with Don have has led this great event from inception to where we are now.

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