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Day 193

By Brian Hancock

It looks like, for a change the bird is being flipped on the front runners of the first edition of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. Instead of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, this time the poor are making hay while the sun shines as the fleet compresses as the boats near the equator. Pen Duick VI and L’Esprit d’équipe have reached the outer edges of the doldrums and their speed has diminished rapidly. At last check PDVI had slowed to just 2.8 knots while L’Esprit d’équipe were doing a more respectable 4.3 knots having covered a decent 145 nautical miles in the last 24 hours. But they too will hit the light stuff. The YB Tracker shows them sailing in light blue which is almost no wind but they are heading for a darker blue and, well, that will be when Ms Tabarly seriously contemplates chucking a few horses into the drink.

Contrast that with Maiden, Spirit of Helsinki and Translated 9. SOH is averaging steadily over 9 knots as are the maidens on Maiden with SOH a little off their pace. Their closing speed is 7-8 knots. You can do some real damage at those kinds of numbers although they too will hit the blue. I once wrote a poem called Everything Fades to Blue and this was back before I knew what colours the YB Tracker engineers had chosen for their wind patterns, but I digress.

Explorer, Sterna, Triana, Galiana WithSecure and Evrika have all fallen into line sailing the Rhumb Line and making good speed in light to moderate south, south westerlies. Brochure weather.

I really enjoy the photos and videos that come in off the boats and I was pleased to see that the French team on Evrika have taken on one of life’s small gifts; a mid-ocean swim. There is nothing quite so special as a dip in the deep blue hundreds of miles from the closest land. I’ve had a few. You dive into this beautiful turquoise water and see beams of light stream down. If you look up you can see the hull of your beautiful yacht, the one that has taken you more than three quarters of the way around the world and marvel how tiny it it looks in an ocean so vast.

I once did a trip between Cape Town and Gibraltar. The ocean was flat calm. There were three of us on board including my old mate Phil Wade (RIP). We shut the engine off and drifted, each us us taking it in turns to swim. It was noon and we were on the International Dateline. After an hour we turned the engine on and turned the clock back. It was an hour that never was and one that I will never forget.

TGIF sailors. Sail fast and sail safe.

Don’s Daily Tracker Update

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