By Brian Hancock
It’s going to be close. Less than a hundred miles separate Translated 9 and Pen Duick VI as they approach the northern tip of New Zealand (Cape Reinga) which is just a Fastnet Race to go to the finish (for you Brits), or giving that you Aussies that have nothing else to do than read than my stuff, they are just a Sydney Hobart race away from the finish line in Auckland. Oh, I almost forgot the Americans. I know that Godspeed is out but still, they are still my friends. IGod bless them. t’s a Newport Bermuda race to go. You know the best thing about the Newport to Bermuda Race is Newport and Bermuda. The bit inbetween sucks. I know – I have done a few them, well many of them. But I digress. I guess my ADHD meds are no longer coming in full strength. Or maybe the Amazon driver is diluting them… .
Back to my update. There are some potholes ahead and some dead spots to deal with, but weather is weather and it can change. I know, I have had three wives. Still have Sally; I’m so lucky. Anyway… .
There is a light spot between where they are now and where they need to go. Not so much for Maiden, Triana and L’Esprit d’Equipe (see I managed to spell it). They are getting pummeled by some strong northerly winds, and I mean that there is some breeze going on. There is going to be some salt water in their soup, if you know what I mean.
Some people are not interested in my asides but as we were approaching Sydney, the wild fires had flared up and the place was literally on fire, but I digress. The old Bedford truck was starting to hiccup again. More tomorrow.
I mean, how much can I just talk about wind and weather for 300 days, non-stop? Yes, I do get some criticism from people that say that I talk too much about myself and stuff that happened, but, read it or don’t. I have had an awesome ride so far and I will sneaking in a bit every now and then, even a kangaroo or a Tasmanian Devil and all. Just wait until the boats get to New Zealand and we can talk mutton birds (Kels… ).
The usual suspects are diving south, you know who I mean. There is a bit of an easy breeze there but to the way south there is some kick-ass wind and they are hoping to ride it. (OK I will quit references to my ex-wives – for now.) The thing about ocean racing is this, you need to grab the bull by the horns if you can find one. If not the horns you can grab them by the… Well never mind. I don’t want any hate mail.
So let’s go back to the really fun stuff. VMG!! That, as I have said before, is about as dry as a piece of burnt toast on a Sunday morning with your in-laws, served again on a Monday morning by your ex-wife. You asked for it and now you are going to get it. VMG.
OK, this might not be as much fun as a kangaroo in a refrigerator, but hear me out. VMG, means Velocity Made Good, AKA VMG. There is distance to finish, along a rhumb line, or VMG means how fast you are going towards where you need to be. That’s about it in a tooth brush. It doesn’t matter how fast you are going if you are going in the wrong direction, it’s not good. Don’t get me wrong. I may be old but I still like the music of One Direction, but, sadly, they are wrong. You need to be going in the Right Direction. That’s how you win races. VMG. Remember that.
Sterna and Explorer are due north of Kerguelen Island and getting pummeled, as in getting pummeled. Lots of breeze, some of it up the chuff but not all of it so life is going to be a little lumpy (sorry can’t help myself – like one of my wives – no names mentioned). As I said, just scroll past if you don’t like the fact that I have a had a few (wife’s that is – I love Sally so there you go – I got it right in the end). Maybe you now know why. She’s the only one that can put up with my drivel.
So, moving on, I was watching my good mate Don McIntyre do his daily Tracker update. Now, you have to love an Aussie, and I did once, but I digress. Don was talking about Sterna and what they were going to have to deal with. In plain English, a boat without a rudder is like a bird without a wing. They can only fly in circles. But Don, in pure Don fashion said, “well it’s only blowing 50 knots. Their boat speed right now is two knots. It’s going to be just fine. No worries mate. Once they can squeeze someone into the lazarette to fix the steering cable, they will be just fine.” In other words no need to panic. Just get the bloody hell on with it when you can.
TGIF for the sailors in the Ocean Globe Race even though I know that they probably don’t really know what day it is; they all melt together and that’s the beauty of life on the high seas.