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Day 188

By Brian Hancock

It’s a mixed bag of lollipops in the South Atlantic this Sunday morning as the Ocean Globe Race fleet makes their way north in fickle and trying conditions. Marie Tabarly and her crew on Ped Duick VI have regained the lead from Spirit of Helsinki with L’Esprit d’équipe second on the water on a distance to finish to basis, although L’Esprit d’équipe is just a scant two miles ahead of SOH. Close racing and still a lot to play for.

Neptune and Evrika are sliding up the coast making good speed; both averaging 6.1 knots which is good since they are contending with headwinds. Those boats to the east of them, White Shadow, Outlaw, Triana and Galiana WithSecure are not faring as well, each averaging around 3 knots. I say relax, chuck that slab of corn beef on the stove, boil up some potatoes and shred the cabbage. It’s St. Patrick’s Day afterall where the whole world is Irish. Funny story, in the ‘81/82 Whitbread there was an Irish entry, can’t remember the name of it right now. The skipper would always say that he boiled his potatoes in a mix of whiskey and water and threw the potatoes away and drank the water. Gotta love the Irish.

Since it’s Sunday and all is well with the fleet I think that it’s time for an anecdote. I should have brought it up earlier when the boats were closer to Rio. The ‘77/78 race stopped in Rio and were berthed at the Iate Club de Rio de Janeiro, an exclusive and sprawling club in the shadow of Sugar Loaf. The Commodore of the yacht club agreed to host the prize giving at the pool (first mistake). It was during Mardi Gras and the city was electric. The waitresses were mostly (un)dressed according to my friend Chris Barker (‘77/78 and ‘81/82) and with the caipirinhas flowing freely, Clare Francis, yes that sweet innocent looking Clare Francis, led all the team to jump into the pool fully clothed. I can’t confirm but apparently the Commodore of the yacht was (against his will) made to join them. Of course they called in the riot police (second mistake) who came with tear gas and started to lob it, but most of the crew were children of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s and they just picked up the tear gas and lobbed it back at the police. Eventually the crews fled to their respective boats; party over. And that my friends is why races like this one no longer stop in Rio.

Well I have to decide if I am going to start with a Guinness or a pint of green beer. The leprechaun on my shoulder is urging the green beer so bubbles up it is. Sail safe all of the teams in the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race and happy St. Patty’s Day.

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