By Brian Hancock
The thing about waypoints is this, and I am all for them, they keep the fleet out of the really dirty stuff of the Southern Ocean, meaning they keep the sailors safe and that’s a good thing. But they are imaginary lines of latitude and longitude which is fine if you have GPS, but this is a retro-race so all of the sailors are trying to find an imaginary mark in the middle of the ocean with a sextant (I have an imaginary friend by the way) and are trying to get around it. They have to leave it to starboard. For some of the boats it’s like they have forgotten the blind date that their best friend set them up with and they only remembered it at the last moment. By the way I had a blind date once and it lasted seven years. Still a sweet memory. I was only 12 at the the time. My first love.
But I digress (again). Galiana WithSecure is using some elbow grease to get there and my mate Tapio is using all of his powers of persuasion to tack north to find that elusive waypoint. It’s a little like Finding Nemo (my favourite action movie by the way). They will find it. Most of the gaggle (technical term) are around but I have to wonder if the great Marie Tabarly and her crew have lost the plot (as the say in the classics). Pen Duick VI is taking the scenic route and is wandering around south of Australia looking for some breeze. Right now they don’t have much but in a few days they will be getting a bit of a dusting.
Speaking of Australia (who doesn’t? Love that country). Speaking of Australia I once did a race from England to Fremantle. OK, so this is going to be split into three or four parts. This race is not about me, it’s about the awesome sailors of the OGR, but this is a story worth telling. We won the race beating the great Rolly Tasker (sorry Don, but we did) and came into Fremantle with more than a little wind ‘up the chuff’ as the say in the classics. The owner of the boat was a cheapskate (he’s dead now so I can write this if I want). Anyway we were first into Fremantle but had no crew uniforms, other than stained underpants and matching flip-flops. Lucky for us – but not for the cheapskate boat owner – we had blown out our spinnaker a day before. Me, as in the resident sailmaker on board made red sarongs and yellow bandannas for the crew. The owner was impressed with the uniforms until he realised that it was his spinnaker cut into pieces. Then he was not that impressed but a few T-shirts would have gone a long way. I was 22 at the time so life was fun.
Back to the OGR. Sterna and Explorer seem to have dodged a bullet. That low with an intent to kill passed under them, a bit like my first wife, and they are in good stable waters and cooking along. Sterna doing 7 knots and Explorer doing much the same but Captain Coconut (Mark Sinclair) seems to have taken a left hand turn. Maybe he’s looking for some of those gorgeous Wandering Albatross, which, by the way, I heard from a ‘friend’ of mine makes good eating, (but only of you are really hungry…).
White Shadow is getting spooked by their own shadow. You know that I love this crew but they seem to find every pothole and pitfall along the way and if I didn’t know that they were a dry boat, I would have been a tad suspicious of their movements, but fear not, there is some wind coming for them and life will soon resume as if they were at Club Med. I went there once and didn’t like it. All those free drinks and all. The rest, well what can I say? They are just rocking and rolling through life and that’s, according to me and no one else (except Don) is what life is all about. Rock on OGR sailors; you have my respect.