By Brian Hancock
It’s still a horse race in my opinion. Translated 9 are sailing really well as are the crew on Pen Duick VI. A hundred or so miles separate them but there is beach weather at the north end of New Zealand which means not much wind and some time to work on those pre-Christmas tans, but looking at Windy (on the Yellow Brick tracer) that may all change in the next day or two. A fairly decent puff from behind (don’t send me hate mail – it’s a nautical term) and both boats should be able to hook onto it, but buyer beware, the east coast of New Zealand can be a tad tricky. I speak from experience. As does my friend Chris Barker who is a Kiwi and who reads these updates when he has nothing better to do. He’s a Whitbread veteran.
The middle pack is also dealing with a high pressure system but, and this is fascinating, to me at least. They are not getting any fancy weather updates. They can use a barometer or barograph (pretty much the same thing except that the barograph plots the drop or rise in atmospheric pressure so that you can see it visually on a piece of chart paper). Or they can look out the window to see where the next puff of wind will come from, but they all seem to be riding the bottom edge of the high pressure meaning that they are enjoying some good sailing. I am sure that if they squeak to the north they will see the barograph rise a little and that will be a sign that it’s too soon, but at some point they are going to have to take a left hand turn to get around Cape Reinga. Those beautiful beaches on the west coast of New Zealand are pretty solid.
Maiden covered 200 nautical miles in the last 24-hours. A very decent day at the office. Neptune, according to the YB tracker did 246 miles in the last 24-hours while Evrika did a little under 200 miles. There is wind out there friends and sailors and my next door neighbor Larry, who is also a friend and a sailor. The OGR crews are eating it up and eating up the miles.
I would love to update you on the steering problems on Sterna but I don’t have an update. Instead I will update you on the wild fires in Sydney on my way from Perth, and of course because it’s Australia, the fires were wild. We came in over the stunningly beautiful Blue Mountains only to get a strong smell of smoke. It was a bummer because we were out of beer and needed to get to Sydney ASAP. The highway into town was completely blocked off. By the way I should have told you that my Bedford driving companions were Croc and Dingo. You can’t make this stuff up. Dingo used to live around that area and he guided us through some back streets around the worst of it. We made it to Sydney and I hooked a ride to Hobart where I got the inevitable “Dear John” letter. My sweet girlfriend was engaged to be married; to the guy that lived up the street. I guess that I had been gone too long and probably knew that it was coming. Oh the fun and games of an ocean racer.
However, I digress. It looks like White Shadow are outrunning their shadow with close to 200 miles on the clock and they are still in the wind and trucking along (nautical term). If any of the middle pack park-up (also a nautical term) they might need to be looking over their shoulders as Jean-Christophe Petit and his mighty team are looking to do some damage to the leader board. By the way, and since it’s the weekend, one of the best movies/documentaries I have ever seen (seriously) is Man on Wire featuring Phillipe Petit (see the connection?). He tight-roped walked between the twin towers in lower Manhattan when they were still being built. Well worth your dime to rent it.
OK sailors in the great McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. Give it stick, as my lovely late father used to say to us when we were going out boat racing. Give it stick, but also remember to have fun.