By Brian Hancock
Yay, this is really great news. Our friends on Sterna are hitting the road. “On the Road Again,” as the great Willie Nelson sang, but I’m guessing that he was not thinking about a boat heading off into the Southern Ocean when he wrote it, and knowing Willie, he might have smoked a little – side fact, marijuana in South Africa is called dagga. Love Willie, may he keep on keeping on at the age of close to 90.
Sterna is in hot pursuit of Explorer and both are in decent wind. There is still a low pressure system to the south of them but it looks likes it’s going to bugger off to wherever low pressure systems go to die and they should have a good ride for the next few days. Meanwhile Pen Duick VI, skippered by the very talented Marie Tabarly, is heading directly for the waypoint at 45 degrees south. She needs to leave it to starboard.
The waypoints are there to keep the fleet safe and away from the worst that the Southern Ocean can dish up and for good reason. In future updates I will relate some stories about the ‘old days’ before there were waypoints. It looks to me like when Pen Duick pass that waypoint that they will be halfway on Leg 2 of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. What I ride they have had.
Translated 9 have turned a little to the north in order to make that same waypoint while Maiden have done a bit of zigging and zagging probably trying to position themselves for the waypoint. Free Ridin’ through the Southern Ocean is one thing, but when you chuck a mark of the course in, it changes a lot of things, but it’s all for the safety of the fleet.
The Southern Ocean seems to be in a relatively good mood for most of the fleet, well except for Neptune, but they seem to be holding on and doing a very respectful 9 knots the last time I checked the Yellow Brick tracker. It’s all good fun.
My job with this event is to tell a story about how it was back in the wayback machine, back when my hair was blond and I still had some. Not so much anymore. So here is a story. It’s cold in the Southern Ocean (no surprise there), so taking a cold water bucket shower on deck is not that much fun, shall we say, so most of the crews on the boats that I sailed on across that particular body of water didn’t wash. I am no fan of hair on my face so I shaved every day (in iced salty water). Luckily at 65 I still have bum-fluff on may face (not like Don) so it came off pretty easy back then, but I did change underwear every week or so. Now, I hope that no one reading this is preparing Thanksgiving dinner because what what I am going to tell you is not pretty. Some of our crew admitted to going the full 42 days without changing their underwear. Sorry but that’s life as an ocean racer sometimes.
If you are reading this on Thanksgiving in the good old USofA. Happy Turkey Day.