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Day 184

By Brian Hancock

Most of the Ocean Globe Race fleet has parked up and yes that is just what it souls like. They have hit a big South Atlantic parking lot and are going nowhere slowly. At last check on the Yellow Brick tracker most oats were barely managing just two knots. There is, however, a wild card and that’s our friends on L’Esprit d’équipe who are, for now, managing to skirt the edge of the hole in the ocean and at last check they were doing a very healthy 7.4 knots and storming up on the leaders. When your competition is doing just 2 knots and you are doing over 7 knots you can close the gap at a fairly decent clip. At last check Spirit of Helsinki, who have regained the lead, had 5,175 miles to go to Cowes, while L’Esprit d’équipe had 5,210 miles to go. If SOH remain parked up and L’Esprit d’équipe keep in the breeze I would not be surprised to see the French boat take the lead. By the way, Galiana WithSecure have also found a lane, not as good as the one that L’Esprit d’équipe is riding, but they are also in a position to change the game.

The thing about a parking lot is this, other than the fact that you are going nowhere slowly, there is always some residual slop left over from wind that has long passed. You have to try and keep the boat moving so all sails are set, but they wil slap from side to side with each passing swell, and the noise they make is like a firecracker going off. It’s a loud bang, followed by another loud bang, and another and so on until it starts to drive you crazy. You start to long for those rough upwind conditions. The other thing is that the whole rig shakes with each slat to the point where you fear that the cotter pins in the rigging are going to come out and that will be that. Stranger things have happened. Lastly, without any wind there is no cool breeze to moderate the temperature and it can get stifling hot, but adventure is adventure and that’s what the OGR crew signed up for.

Speaking of adventure. Maiden are about to have an adventure of their own. They have lost their generator which in itself is a problem, but the generator was used to run the watermaker. No generator; no water. Well that’s not entirely true. They have a hand crank one that can produce (I believe) a liter an hour which is better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick, but in the next couple of weeks they are going to be closing in on the equator where the need to stay hydrated is paramount. They also have a second hand crank watermaker in their emergency kit, but if they break it out they will incur a 48-hour penalty. Let’s keep an eye on things. The maidens are nothing if not resourceful.

The next few days are going to be interesting. It’s a crap shoot as to when the fleet is going to get released and the leaderboard could change. We will just have to wait and see. And lastly, if I may, those reading this please send good vibes to my wife Sally who underwent knee surgery today, and thanks.

Don’s Daily Tracker Update


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