By Brian Hancock
We are just 48 hours into the McIntyre Ocean Globe and already there is a pattern forming as much of the fleet leaves land in their wake as they head out into the first real meat of the race; the Bay of Biscay. The strategies will change from dealing with strong currents and fog in the English Channel and the looming land on either side, to more open ocean sailing. At some point they will have to deal with Cape Finisterre on the northwest corner of Spain some 700 kilometers, or in sailors parlance, some 400 nautical miles away, but for now they can adopt their own tactical decisions without being constrained by land and all of the challenges it offers. To make my point, witness the Swan 57 White Shadow and Evrika, a Swan 65 ketch as they may have to tack to the north to avoid running into, what sailors refer to as ‘hard water.’ In other words, land.
Once the fleet enters the Bay of Biscay, which by the way can be a furious body of water on occasion, but looks to be asleep for now, they may have a lot more opportunity to pick their course, but it’s going to be a challenge. The wind is light and from the north which means spinnakers up and heads down for some to get rest after a furtive and fitful start. It’s a time for the teams to stretch their legs and show us what they got.
Translated 9 is still being sailed with Italian passion, but I am sure that they keep looking over their shoulders as the ladies on Maiden are bearing down on them at a rapid pace. Lest we forget those further into the fleet, there is still some tight racing as they too struggle to find their way into open water.