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Day 240

By Brian Hancock

Sorry for the radio silence. I have had a bit of a rough go of it until I discovered that hospital rooms overlooking Boston Harbour are a lot cheaper than hotel rooms and all you need is a small red button and you can get a Coke delivered to your bedside (and I don’t even drink Coke.) But I digress. That’s where I have been. Luckily Boston has some of the best doctors in the world and these days I seem to be on the mend, which is to say, the OGR is not finished with me. Yet.)

There has been so much happening. We crowned a new OGR winner. Go Maiden even though all the OGR sailors are winners. We bought home those flip-flop wearing South Africans and Translated 9 made it. No need to elaborate on that. What an adventure they had and what an accomplishment. I also have many anecdotes to wrap things up. The first, speaking of radio silence, involves a radio. Not the kind of radio that we have become used to but the old single-sideband sets that weighed more than a centurion tank (I know this because I used to be a tank commander even though I couldn’t see over the steering wheel.) Two years as a military commander and I could’t see a thing.

You could patch a call through Portishead Radio in London from just about anywhere in the world. Only problem was that there was no such thing as a private call, something to our delight that our newest crew member was unaware of. He was also unaware of the handy switch that could broadcast through the cockpit speakers (new crew – let’s call him that) would patch a call through to his wife in the US. We would all settle into the cockpit, coffee in hand, flick the switch and tune in. For the next hour we got the blow by blow of life on board from the nitty gritty like that extra large new pimple that had appeared in a delicate place, to the amount that the cook drank. Which was sufficient to flood the Nile each night. It was some of the best radio ever. We could tell when the call was winding down and quickly flicked the switch and acted as if we were racing the boat.

It’s these small anecdotes that make a race an adventure and memories seared there somewhere where memories get seared, both the good and the bad, can be called upon at any time for a pleasant thought. By the way he never found out about about the switch and he and his wife were later divorced. We also enjoyed hearing the calls from the mariners far from home. They would call their wives and she would drone on about Johnny’s bad grades, the fact that he was caught looking up the teacher’s skirt. The things of home, if you will. As soon as the call was over the mariner asked to be patched through to his girlfriend and flowers and perfume came across the air waves. “Life hey,” as Don would say.

So while I was in my hospital/hotel room listening to the chap in the bed next to me fart his night away I will recall some stories before we say goodbye to the ‘23/’24 fleet and let them enjoy their memories while they turn them into the chapters of their life.

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