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Day 91

Don’s Daily Tracker Update

By Brian Hancock

The thing about sailboat racing is this. Anything can happen and until you cross the finish line and the fat lady gets to sing, you do not have it in the bag. Translated 9 deserve the win for this leg. They have sailed a brilliant race, but I have seen boats parked up within a few miles of the finish and one of the boats from behind just sail around them to claim victory. Having said that, Translated 9 have a pretty decent lead and the forecast is good. They have some light breeze now from the west but it looks like it’s going to pick up as they get closer to Auckland. At last check they had just over 100 miles to go until that first Steinlager can go down long, slow and cold.

A little up the track Pen Duick VI is right at Cape Reinga with Spirit of Helsinki schooching (nautical term) right behind them. It looks like there is just 10 miles separating them. Just so they know, there is a sandbar off the cape that moves, so don’t cut it too close. There are also some sneaky rocks just below the surface.

My good friend Mike Golding was leading the single-handed Around Alone Race in ’99 when he slammed into one of said rocks about a mile offshore. It ripped the keel and did massive damage to an internal bulkhead. The IMOCA 60’s have watertight bulkheads to keep water ‘compartmentalised’, so to speak, so he was not going to sink, but he was in deep trouble. Funnily enough, and I appreciate that none of this funny, especially for Mike and his team, the boat that came to his rescue was named Happy 1. All I am saying is this; “don’t get over your skis when rounding that most gorgeous cape. Give it a bit of space, enjoy the view and prepare to sail down one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world”.

Maiden has been suffering from some light winds, but light winds are not always bad. It gives the crew some time to do routine maintenance and clean the boat. They are in a light south westerly breeze doing 5.6 knots. Further back L’Esprit d’équipe and Triana are in the same wind pattern having a close race while Neptune and Evrika are also cooking along with a little bit of gas. Evrika especially who knocked off a fairly decent 207 miles in the last 24-hours, a good day at the office, especially for a weekend. The outlaws on Outlaw and also cooking with a little gas and they have to because Galiania WithSecure have them firmly in their sights. And I mean firmly because there is less than 10 miles that separate them. Can you imagine after 6,000 miles, that two boats can be in the same water so close to each other?

The crew on White Shadow are sailing their own race but there is a patch of light wind ahead. They have left Tasmania in the dust and are well and truly into the Tasman Sea. Now the fun begins for them. Our mates on Sterna are going to get a stiff one up the chuff (don’t shoot me) while Explorer seem to be riding some perfect Southern Ocean wind.

By the way I did reef the cat and he didn’t blow away, but the funny thing about cats is this. They sense the changing weather almost better than a barometer. Maybe next time I sail around the world I will take a cat with me. When they get antsy, I will know that some bad weather is coming in.

So to our friends and family following the McIntryre Ocean Globe Race the fun is about to start. There is no place like Auckland to sail into and there is nothing more special than a full-on Kiwi welcome.

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