By Brian Hancock
OK, apologies in advance. There is a foursome going on. The Southern Ocean stirs up that emotion in many of us. Sorry, lost my train of thought there. What I was trying to say is that Triana, Outlaw, Galiana WithSecure and Evrika are in a heated battle with some strong winds now and some strong winds ahead. Oh yes, the good old Southern Ocean is going to dish up some soup in the next few days.
But before I continue, I completely missed the fact that most of the fleet has passed the Crozet Islands, or known better, Iles Crozet because they are French. As an aside, why does France own an group of islands in the Southern Ocean? Hmmm. I will come back to that with a quiz at the end of this update. But I digress (ADHD). They are a stunningly beautiful group of small islands that are also a mark of the course. All the competitors have to leave them to starboard, or the right hand side for those non-sailors who might have accidentally stumbled upon my chicken scratch updates.
You see I know this because I once spent, (back when I had hair), a very pleasant day stuck in the lee of them. We made the mistake of going too close thinking that we were sight-seeing and not racing around the world. They throw a long wind shadow and we sat there for a full day with the sails hanging limp. If you are thinking of a vacation in Florida, I suggest a trip to the Crozet’s instead, but remember to pack your wellies, or gumboots or whatever they call them these days.
Now, let’s take a look at things. Spirit of Helsinki has taken a sharp right, I guess looking for more breeze to make their lives more miserable. The ladies on Maiden are booking it and good for them. When a lady gets a bone in her teeth there is no stopping them. I know because I have been married a few times, but now I have found the love of my life, Sally. White Shadow is doing a decent 7.6 knots, while Neptune skippered by Tanneguy Raffray is on the chase right behind them doing 8.6 knots. It’s a real boat race.
Explorer is back in Cape Town, Sterna must be into the moonshine or, perhaps the red wine, in Mossel Baai, eating mussels but the race will go on. What a fun adventure this all is. Getting cold and wet and feeling miserable; that’s what it is all about.
Just as an aside the leaders (on the water, but perhaps not necessarily in life) are going to be riding that mechanical bull once again. There is a strong low pressure just to the south of them.
Tricky thing about riding a mechanical bull without a bottle of rose in you is that it’s really hard to hold on… Read my earlier update.
Now to the quiz. How far is France from Canada? And to make it easier, (and don’t Google it), France territory from Canada?