By Brian Hancock
Maiden and Spirit of Helsinki had a little meet-up at the 45 degree south waypoint. I was going to say ‘hook-up’ but didn’t want to get into any more trouble. Oops, I may just have said it. Both boats seemed to have rounded that mysterious line of latitude and longitude at the same time and fairly close to each other. It could have been fun, so to speak. They could have used their water cannons to drench each other.
Speaking of hook-ups, I was once cruising Tierra del Fuego (at the tip of South America) and we had hunted some steamer ducks (they are as tough as my old leather shoes after two marathons and I have run quite a few marathons so I know whereof I speak), and we ran into a French boat that had bagged a Chilean huemul, a nice plump deer, and we traded; duck for deer. I think that we got the better deal. The steamer ducks have a hard time taking off so their muscles are as tough as nuts. The Chilean huemul just strolls around the lush green hills grazing on four leaf clovers and grass. We definitely got the better deal.
But I digress (ADHD). Translated 9 rounded the waypoint and is steaming south. Pen Duick VI is long gone but are facing some headwinds in a strange weather pattern, but they are still making good speed although not really in the right direction. I will explain VMG (Velocity Made Good) versus boat speed in a later update. Today I am trying to focus on the fleet and stay out of trouble (which isn’t easy.)
There is a gaggle (not a nautical term unless you are a duck), there is a gaggle of boats looking to get around the waypoint led by L’Esprit d’équipe but closely followed by Triana skippered by Jean d’Arthuys (why do French names have to be so difficult?). Evrika and Outlaw are doing what they do; stalking each other, and well, I think that my mate Tapio on Galiana WithSecure are not that secure in their position to round the waypoint. Headwinds, no wind, and even less wind face them as they try and turn the corner and find themselves sailing under Australia.
Let’s talk Tapio. He was born the same year as me (1958) even though he looks a lot older than me, poor bugger… I have such respect for him going back out there to take a wave in the face. We both did the ’81/82 Whitbread Round the World Race. He was on the Finnish entry Skopbank of Finland, I was on Alaska Eagle, an American entry that was quickly named by the fleet Alaska Beagle because the boat was a dog. I will come back to that. Tapio is still out there doing it and I have so much respect for him.
So let’s keep talking Tapio. He and his team of sauna loving crew are going to find a light wind ditch ahead of them, but it doesn’t matter. Tapio has the youngest crew in the race, which just leaving it there is quite awesome. Giving people an adventure like this is a gift of a lifetime. But there mission, along with his First Mate Ville Norra, they are on a mission to bring attention to the lack of wildlife in the oceans these days. What an awesome idea.
As an aside, and I can write this because I can, I have sailed across the Atlantic a couple of times alone, as in solo, not as in depressed (we can come back to that). If you are alone you get to spend much time looking out at the big blue marble. I too noticed that most of what I saw was garbage floating by the boat. Plastic cr*p. So I truthfully appreciate what Tapio and his team are doing but it seems endless. I don’t have any answers, but I do like what First Mate Ville Norra does, when times get tough he brings out his guitar and sings to the sea creatures.
Bubbles up, my friend.