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Day 208

By Brian Hancock

“The boat broke, not the humans.”

Those were the shocking and very somber words uttered by Nico Malingri co-skipper of the Swan 65 Translated 9. No truer words have been spoken. The crew are in disbelief and have retired from Leg 4 of the Ocean Globe Race and are diverting to the Portuguese island of Madeira 1,000 miles to their east. I know that it’s not much consolation but Madeira is a beautiful place with ample facilities to make repairs. Their ETA is for April 11.

The boat was sailing in rough conditions when an errant wave knocked them flat. The wind was gusting 50 knots and the crew heard, well sensed may be a better way to put it, that the sea state was brutal and that the previous damage to their skeg and rudder may be in jeopardy. They were correct. When the boat straightened itself water started to pour in and the crew knew that their gig was up. It was time to call it a day. I say on behalf of all those landlubbers following the race, ”we are all gutted.”

I suppose that this story can hark back to what I said about the last 1,000 miles being a bugger. I am not saying that Marco and Nico took their eye off the prize; the fault was entirely mine. I should have added that after 26,000 miles the boats are also tired.

Looking ahead I see that Pen Duick VI are abeam of one of my favorite cities in the world; Lisbon. If they had some spare time – which they don’t – they could stop in for a pasteis de nata, one of Portugal’s famous pastries, but I know instead that they are looking to the north at a very strong westerly flow that has their name on it. Windy is showing purple, an angry wind, but one that extends across the notorious Bay of Biscay into the English Channel. The wind will fade some as it collides with a separate front coming in from the north which will pass the baton like a relay race. All things being equal (they never are) they should get propelled all the way to the finish in Cowes. If all plays out like it should Pen Duick may be poised to win Line Honours, first in IRC and first in Flyer Class, a hat trick if you will.

Let’s not forget the rest of the fleet. L’Esprit d’équipe are still storming and should ride similar conditions as PDVI. Let’s not rule out the Finns on Spirit of Helsinki who have sailed a brilliant leg and who are first in the Sayula Class and let’s not rule out Maiden and Neptune and the outlaws on Outlaw who are currently leading the Adventure Class.

Let’s come back to the rest of the fleet tomorrow. For now I am setting up my deck chair for perfect eclipse watching in my speedo even though there is still snow on the ground and a chilly wind blowing. Perfect weather for an ice cold vodka but I won’t be imbibing. My days of vodka are (sadly) off the table.

Sail fast (and safe) especially Translated 9. The whole OGR family have you in their thoughts.

Don’s Daily Tracker Update


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