By Brian Hancock
L’Esprit d’équipe ambled (nautical term) into Auckland harbour this morning and by ambled I mean, the wind was light and they had to tack back and forth to make the finish line, but they did it will a certain kind of elegance that only the French have. They are the fifth boat to arrive and they must be ready for some steak tartare. You see I know this. I worked with a French team in an around-the-world-race a few years ago and due to some hull damage they had to pull into Cape Town. I was there to take their dock lines. I knew of a famous steak house and we went out for dinner that first evening. I was thinking that they would be craving a massive side of beef. They all went for the steak tartare; with a raw quail egg on top. There is a certain elegance to that as well. True story. Congratulations Lionel Regnier and your crew on a fantastic Southern Ocean crossing.
While L’Esprit d’équipe sailed a great race they were pursued by Triana who were hunting them down pretty much the whole way. While I write this Triana is just 3.5 miles from the finish doing just 3.9 knots. You do the math. The typical New Zealand summer southwesterly wind has given way to even more beach weather. Triana are first in the Adventure Class and being French they are probably going to head for the all-you-can-eat steak tartare bar as well. Well done to them.
Neptune will be next unless they find a pothole which Evrika seem to have found at Cape Reinga. Evrika are making just 3.6 knots. Not brilliant, but not bad. They are in a light northerly that looks like it will turn into an even lighter northerly. Meanwhile the outlaws on Outlaw are trucking along and should round that beautiful cape later today. All great fun, especially if you are the lighthouse keeper.
White Shadow are in their own kind of hell with light headwinds midway across the Tasman Sea. I bet that they are longing for those fun day rollicking along in 40 knots with 50 knots in the squalls. Scrolling to the west I see Explorer and Sterna doing great speed. Explorer have found a high pressure system and are riding the bottom edge of it. Sterna are still eating their boerewors from South Africa when they should be focusing on a healthy low pressure below they. They should just Fed Ex me the rest of the boerewors and concentrate on the sailing….
It’s a TGIF kind of day for the fleet. Those already in Auckland will be enjoying that beautiful city. Those sailing down the east coast will be enjoying the beauty of that amazing coastline, and the rest, well they will be enjoying their great adventure.