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Day 245

By Brian Hancock

I know that it’s a well worn cliché that you always keep the best for last, and often it’s true, but what do you say when one of the most beloved entries in the Ocean Globe Race is finally rolling up the Solent just in time for some early evening fish and chips and maybe even some cockels on the side steamed with lemon, garlic, butter and black pepper. The exploits of Captain Coconut and his crew on Explorer are now within spitting distance of the finish and that much closer to a bed that doesn’t tip (and a crewmate that doesn’t fart in his/his (her) sleep). Yup, the last competitor in the 2023/24 McInyre Ocean Globe Race will soon throw their lines ashore and call it a job well done. From me and the McIntyre team and the myriad of fans from around the world CONGRATULATIONS. Only a couple of years to the next one so get your bottom cleaned (the boat’s that is), restock the larder with your favourite fois gras and sign on the line for another one. You know that you will do it again, don’t you?

There are just too many stories to tell about this team and their 27,000 mile circumnavigation, but I want to offer a personal anecdote. I used to run marathons and I was quite good. (I can barely make it to the mailbox now but that’s a different story). I would be in the beer tent after three and a half hours or so. Job done. My wife, bless her, goes by the nickname Mustang Sally (her name is Sally). Her body is not quite cut out for the real long ones (despite having completed 10 marathons). I would be five beers in when Sally would come pounding down the red carpet to the finish. My point to this story?

Let’s think about it. Marie Tabarly and her crew on Pen Duick VI have been been done for a while. Same too with L’Esprit d’équipe and the maidens on Maiden. As my children used to say before Christmas, “how many more sleeps?” Those crews that finished a month ago have had plenty of sleeps on dry land yet our exploring friends on Explorer are yet to enjoy their first since leaving Punta del Este. They, in my humblest opinion are the real heroes of his race. They are the mustangs that have kept on keeping on when things got rough and they knew that the front runners were warm and dry. They stuck it out dealing with the weird sense of humour that the wind gods threw their way. They have had so many more twists and turns to deal with and just that much longer to hold their boat together than the leaders.

So, this is a word that I am reluctant to use. No one ran into a burning building to save a child, but nonetheless, Captain Coconut and your crew you are my heroes. Welcome. Theirs is an open tab at the local just along the street. Have as many as you want. I will suggest that our erstwhile leader Don pick up the tab. I am broke and you have managed to capture the full-on spirit of the OGR.

See you in three.

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