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Day 198

By Brian Hancock

OK here we go again. The bulk of the fleet has fled the doldrums and are back in the thick of it, the thick of it meaning the northeast trade winds. Just as we saw on Leg 1 on the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race, as well as Leg 3, the fleet had to duck and dive around the St. Helena or South Atlantic High. It was more established on Leg 1, however Leg 3 was a bit like the Goombay Festival that they have in Miami each year. A cluster of small spin off cells that gave most teams instant heartburn. For now the northeast trades look a little more settled.

Let me explain. The wind in the southern hemisphere rotates anti-clockwise around the centre of the high. In the northern hemisphere it rotates clockwise. Now I have never actually witnessed this but water going down the drain goes down anti-clockwise down south and clockwise once in northern waters. At some point the earth’s rotation does its magic and voila.

This is a tough time for the teams because they are still in the tropics where the sun beats down relentlessly yet as the trades settle in, there is water coming over the deck and water on deck means battening the hatches and with hatches battened it gets stifling down below. You strip off as much as you can but soon end up in a pool of sweat and find yourself slipping from side to side in your bunk. Worse yet, when you extricate yourself for your time on deck you leave a damp, smelly mess for your bunk partner. Fun times, also known as an adventure.

There seems to be some trouble brewing in Maiden land. They are running short on some critical items, namely gas. Now that’s not good. While they are in the tropics the appetites are not that huge but once in colder waters they are going to need some good hearty hot food, which is also running low. They have identified the problem and started rationing. Manageable. They are back to the lack of water issue which I am sure that they will manage. The maidens are nothing short of resourceful.

Now the tricky one; toilet paper. I spent two years in the military (drafted) where they seem obsessed with those bits between the naval and the kneecap. The Kommandant of the camp especially. Whenever he had a chance he would admonish us when it came to the issue of toilet paper. He would stand on his small podium and ceremoniously rip off three squares of toilet paper. “This is all you need. Just three squares. That’s why they are made square. You you need one square to wipe, another to polish and the last one to shine.” Think about it maidens. Just three squares and you should have enough TP for the rest of the leg.

Meanwhile Explorer have dropped off a crew member and are back heading north again; all good news. Triana and White Shadow, on the other hand are doing their damndest to make it across that magical equator line. It must be so frustrating. Both boats covered short of 50 miles in the last 24 hours. The outlaws on Outlaw are making steady progress north on a light to moderate northeasterly wind. All is right with the world.

Take care friends and neighbours and all supporters of the OGR. Thanks for reading and following this great adventure.

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