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Day 197

By Brian Hancock

The real star of Leg 4 of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race has been The Little Engine That Could, AKA Team L’Esprit d’équipe. They just won’t be shaken and they won’t be passed by much larger boats like Spirit of Helsinki or Translated 9, both of which are Swan 65s although SOH is a newer version than the traditional Swan 65 like Translated 9.

Neptune are now firmly in northern waters as are Galiana WithSecure who are currently leading the Adventure Class. The outlaws on Outlaw also made it across that magical line. There will be a flurry (nautical term) of activity overnight and into tomorrow as more of the OGR fleet cross that magical imaginary line.

One thing I am thrilled to see is that some of the boats are fishing. There is nothing like fresh food after a few weeks at sea and a line caught mahi mahi fits that bill. It reminds me of a delivery I did many years ago and we lost our rudder somewhere between St. Helena and Ascension island. We rigged up a jury rig that consisted of two spinnaker poles, a floorboard and a lot of strings. Somehow either the speed of the boat or that steering contraption attracted dozens of mahi mahi so we set up a lunchtime competition. The idea was to see how fast we could get the fish from sea to plate. We would get the cutting board ready, the pan on the burner with chunks of butter, lemon wedges on the side and the speargun at the ready. One rule was that we had to eat all the fish so we had to choose wisely.

  • Step 1 – Fire up the frying pan
  • Step 2 – Find the perfect size fish
  • Step 3 – Lean over the side and spear it – clock started running as soon as we had the fish on the barb
  • Step 4 – Land the fish. Filet it and toss it into the hot butter
  • Step 5 – Serve on plates with a lemon wedge. Sometimes we had some rice or potatoes already prepared.

I don’t recall who got the fastest time but it was definitely less than a minute from when the mahi mahi had been happily swimming along minding its own business, to cooked and ready to eat. It didn’t get any fresher than that. But I digress.

I feel bad that I made some fun of Explorer fishing close to the coast of Brazil. It seems that they have had to turn south to drop off a crewmember (I presume for medical reasons) but until I get more details it’s just speculation. I feel gutted for them. But that’s the nature of offshore ocean racing. Better safe than sorry.

Meanwhile the bulk of the fleet are enjoying decent north easterlies and making good progress including The Little Engine That Could. Sail safe my friends and please be careful. You are almost there.

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