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Day 87

By Brian Hancock

It looks like my mate Tapio, skipper of Galiana WithSecure, is doing some Christmas shopping in Tasmania. I read somewhere that Amazon will deliver so long as you are no more than five miles off the coast. Nautical miles that is. Bless him, I am sure that he bought a Christmas tree to keep the gang happy.

Well let’s leave the jokes aside because there is some drama out on the race course. Sterna (South Africans) reported that they had broken a steering cable which is not good news especially as there is a huge vault right in front of them. By vault I mean a low pressure system packing at least 50 big ones. The seas are already at 5 metres (around 16 feet for the rest of the world which includes me), but it’s going to increase and when they come out of the other side the conditions are going to be relatively good and they should be able to make a decent repair. Just don’t use Chappies bubblegum (my SA friends will get the reference). There is a long way to go to New Zealand and Chappies only lasts for so long.

The middle pack including Triana, L’Esprit d’équipe, Evrika and the outlaws on Outlaw are now officially into the Tasman Sea and booking along (nautical term) at a fair clip (also a nautical term that has nothing to do with getting a hair cut). Neptune is just a few hours away from getting their gold star badges by officially entering the Tasman, but in case they are happy with their badges, I have to let them know that the Tasman is a tricky bit of water. There is a high pressure system that lurks, just like your Dad’s brother on Christmas Eve, and decides who has been naughty or nice.

Let me explain. Pen Duick VI is currently riding the top edge of a high which is not great news. The Yellow Brick shows them doing just 5.2 knots. They have headwinds which means a difficult day at the office. Maiden is starting to feel the pinch as well (don’t get mad at me Tracy Edwards…🙂 it’s a nautical term) and they are moving along at 4.3 knots, which is not that great but OK given that the high is there to make their Thursday a little difficult.

Translated 9 is hardly doing any better. They are dealing with the same weather and managing just 7.2 knots. Now Spirit of Helsinki, presuming that they have finished their Independence Day festivities, may able to hook into a good thing ridin’ a decent westerly on the south side of the high pressure.

I will keep an eye on Sterna. It’s not going to easy but probably better than a ride down the Mass Pike on a winter’s morning. Yes it did snow this morning.

Now, true story, and I don’t want to put a downer on this great event, the musicians wanted to stop for a few days in a place where they had credit on their tab. They had played a gig there on their way east. But I digress.

This is a long story but I will keep it short. I did some looking around and hooked a ride with a farmer on his tractor. He invited me in for the night but things started to sound weird when his lovely wife, Belinda, started to mention that their son’s had finished ‘the box’. The farmer asked for a double shot of whiskey and as we looked over at their beautiful farmland he said, “tomorrow mate, I will be buried over there by the barn”. I did notice that there had been a very deep hole dug into the hard Australian dirt. Let’s just keep this short. The doctor (or whoever he was) came the next morning and gave him a cocktail, no, not that kind of cocktail, and we buried him over by the barn. He went out with his boots on which is about all we can ask for in life.

Again, this is not about me. It’s about the great sailors of the McIntyre Global Ocean Race, but life is life. And the Tasman Sea is full of potholes.

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