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Day 196

By Brian Hancock

There were a few more bumps in the night as first Spirit of Helsinki and then Maiden crossed the equator followed by Translated 9 who stepped over that magical line and found themselves back sailing in northern waters. Neptune will be next with just 22 nautical miles to go at last Yellow Brick tracker report. It’s all happening with a fluster.

The front runners seem to have broken free of the doldrums but that’s a tricky area with a mind of its own. Just when you think you are free, free at last (Dr Martin Luther King), the whole gamut drifts north and swallows you up. You need to get above 10N to be really free.

As I mentioned before, the French call this area Pot au Noir, or black pot. The thing about the doldrums is this. It’s not all flat calms and no breeze. It’s a volatile area as the two hemisphere weather systems clash, and when they do it can be a violent meeting of the minds. You can be drifting along minding your own business when to the west you see a Pot au Noir, a black cauldron, a violent squall if you will. If the one deck crew are not paying close attention they can get caught with their pants down as the wind can go from zero to 30 plus knots in a matter of moments. There you are with all your laundry hanging out, full main, biggest headsail and suddenly you are rail down trying to drag the sails down. By the way this is a good time for a shower However the squalls can pass in as little as five minutes and there you are stand still lathered up drifting in some leftover slop.

Meanwhile still making their way up the South Atlantic positioning themselves are the rest of the OGR fleet. Galiana WithSecure, Outlaw, Evrika and White Shadow are still enjoying a steady easterly flow of warm tropical breeze, the latter two leading their respective classes. Sterna is doing a steady 8 knots and covered a very respectable 190 nautical miles in the last 24 hours while Explorer, what can we say about Explorer? There must be good fishing off the coast of Brazil as they pass close enough to see the lights of Recife.

The correct answer was The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge, and yes, as Mike Philipps, an avid follower of the OGR pointed out, the moral of the story is never mess with a dead albatross. Thanks for reading. Sail on and sail fast all OGR sailors.

Don’s Daily Tracker Update

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