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Day 180

By Brian Hancock

Pen Duick VI and Translated 9 are playing a little tit for tat. So are White Shadow and Evrika. In the case of PDVI and T9 only eight miles separate them on a distance to go (DTF) basis. They are both chugging in some salt water as they deal with that persistent high pressure system feeding them headwinds, and the distance between White Shadow (when I get another cat I am going to name it white shadow even if I have to spray paint it white), and Evrika is down to just six miles (DTF). They too are dealing with the same headwinds that all the fleet are dealing with. Slam slam, bang bang.

The thing about headwinds is that it makes it hard to sleep, and cook, but at some point you get tired enough that you just pass out. I guess that we as humans can adapt to almost anything but I can assure that it’s not that much fun because the constant pounding and the noise below slowly becomes a drumbeat to insanity. And let’s tip toe around this delicate subject, going to the bathroom is also a tad challenging.

Side story, many years ago I was doing the Newport to Bermuda race. It’s notoriously bumpy because of the Gulf Stream. The owner of the boat, the great Mr Jack Batts (RIP) was trying to use the head (out of necessity) when we hit a particularly large wave. The boat slammed, Jack held on but he didn’t notice that the water in the head had slopped into his sea boots. For a few days there was a bad smell until Jack discovered that a tu*d had landed in his boot. By the way Jack was the man who invented injection moulding plastic coat hangers so if you come in from work on a cold day and hang your coat on one of those plastic hangers, it’s thanks to Jack, but I digress.

The real stars of this leg (other than the maidens on Maiden) are the team on Triana skippered by the extremely talented Jean d’Arthuys. They are leading the Adventure Class and coming 2nd in IRC. They took more of a middle ground and it’s paying off. Spirit of Helsinki must have smelled something in the breeze and they have tacked to the north and are chewing through the fleet. It will be interesting to see if their tactic pays dividends as PDVI and T9 are still heading east. It’s a tricky one because lighter winds are ahead, but that is not always a bad thing. They can shake the reefs out and put up larger headsails and still make good speed without all the slamming and banging. I told you that it was a chess board.

Meanwhile Maiden continues to dominate. They have tacked to the east. If you haven’t already, go to The Maiden Factor and read the message that they put up on International Women’s Day written by Najiba, who is from Afghanistan. Here it is Translated.

“Women and girls of Afghanistan,
We stand with you and beside you.
Bread, Jobs, Freedom.”

Isn’t this just an awesome event? Happy Saturday. Sail fast and sail safe.

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