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Day 205

By Brian Hancock

There are three boats through that pesky ridge of high pressure. Pen Duick VI was the first to come out followed by L’Esprit d’équipe and Translated 9 who are sailing in a match race so close they can chuck spit-balls at each other. Only three miles separate them at last look on The Yellow Brick Tracker. Can you imagine that after a month at sea since leaving Punte del Este that the racing would be so close? It’s a testament to just how hard the teams are pushing for that first pint at the fabled Royal Yacht Squadron at the entrance to Cowes Harbour.

Before things get lost in the shuffle and excitement of the finish I have a story for you (surprise). I first arrived in Cowes as a snot-nosed 21 year old fresh from walking the greasy pole at Antigua Race Week. I was on a Swan 57 called Battlecry and the boat was a bit of a legend around town. As we rounded the Royal Yacht Squadron I saw that a crowd had gathered in front of the Island Sailing club. I figured that this would be my time to shine. I was managing the pointy end and had the docklines coiled and ready. Terry Gould, our season captain (we nicknamed him Craptain just because we could) guided the boat gently alongside. I was ready and when the bow was just a few feet from the dock I leapt. I had discounted the effects of adrenaline and hit the dock and kept on going right into the drink on the other side. When I emerged all I would hear was loud laughter. Welcome to bloody Cowes on the bloody Isle of Wight. It was a lesson learned and never repeated. But I digress.

Before I get back to the middle pack let me make note of a nasty low pressure cell packing some breeze. Like an old aunt that insists on giving you a kiss on New Year’s Day it hovers at first before coming in for the kill. I don’t see any way around it. The best thing to do is to take it on the chin and hope that it washes away the smell of stale perfume. The good news is that the wind will be out of the northwest switching west before increasing. It could be worse.

Galiana WithSecure have ended their walkabout to the west of the fleet and seem to be rejoining the main pack notably Triana and White Shadow, but ahead of them Neptune, Outlaw, Spirit of Helsinki and the indomitable Maidens on Maiden are all making tracks, albeit bumpy, in a decent north to northwesterly wind.

Life on board should be cooler and it’s going to get downright cold the further they go north. It’s still early spring in the Northern Hemisphere; don’t let the daffodils and tulips in Covent Garden fool you.

Sterna have sailed their own race and, in my opinion done a darn good job of it given that they are a much smaller yacht than the rest.

Well as I wrap this one up I have been pondering some of the bigger questions in life. Did Maiden figure out their toilet paper situation? As my favorite author Roald Dahl penned as the title of one of his books, “Ah Sweet Mystery of Life.” We might never know the answer to this burning question. Sail on and sail safe.

Don’s Daily Tracker Update

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