By Brian Hancock
There is a deep donga (South African word) ahead. What that means is a deep ditch. Marie Tabarly on Pen Duick VI is enjoying the best (or worst) of it depending on your perspective. It’s blowing a hoolie (Scottish term for blowing dog’s off chains) and they are smoking along at close to 11 knots average. If that’s the average speed you know that they are riding some of those Southern Ocean waves doing much greater speeds and having fun. They are first on the water, 2nd in the Flyer Class and probably doing the best on the fun-o-meter.
Maiden and Translated 9 are just starting to get into the wind and will be finding themselves enjoying the adventure that they signed up for. Triana, who are currently leading the Adventure Class, Outlaw, Galiana WithSecure and Evrika are about to find the fun of it while in a few days White Shadow and Neptune are going be hanging on for a real Southern Ocean ride. There is a deep low pressure system to the south of all of them and looking to split apart in the next few days with half of it blowing a gale from the northwest and the other blowing up a storm from the southeast. Pick your poison, or more accurately, your poison will pick you.
I failed to mention the Kerguelen Islands. They are a mark of the course that has to be left to starboard. They are also quite spectacular and I know this first hand. In one of the races that I did, and I can’t remember which one, they were also a mark of the course that had to be left to starboard, but we found ourselves a little too far south as we were approaching the island group and had to beat upwind in a 50 knot breeze just to get around them. One of the more hellish days of my sailing career but we made it around and they are truly spectacular. I see that the fleet of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race have given them a wide berth and rightly so. Unless you want to stop in for a glass of good red wine. They are French owned.
Explorer, skippered by Mark Sinclair (AKA Captain Coconut) has found some wind as they left Cape Town and are hooking a ride on their own personal low pressure system chasing the fleet. It’s all good fun if getting wet, cold, scared and tired is your idea of having fun. I used to love it but not so much these days. I have a turkey to baste and need to set some time aside to help my wife pull her garden. We still have greens even this late in the year. And lastly, I will try and behave myself on these posts, but if any of my previous posts upset anyone (which apparently they did) I will take a good whipping and leave it at that…