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Day 96

By Brian Hancock

Triana is in, as is Neptune. They tied up in Auckland and closed their books on Leg 2 of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. A warm bed that doesn’t tip awaits them. Congratulations to both teams.

The thing about sailing around the world is this. From the moment you step on board until the moment you get off the boat, the boat is always in constant motion. The sailors need to adjust their movements to compensate every second of each and everyday, even when trying to sleep. The boat lurches and screeches and you have to stay aware of all that is going on around you; 24/7. Not all of it is life threatening, but some of it could be. Not to be a Debbie Downer on a Saturday morning, but quite a few people have been lost overboard in earlier editions of this race, well not quite this race, but the Whitbread Race which the OGR is replicating. I guess my point is that as we sit at home and pull up the Yellow Brick tracker to see where the boats are, we are somehow distanced from some of the difficult conditions that these sailors are going through/have gone through. It’s not all bread pudding out there.

Now the other side of that, is this. After 40 or so days at sea, when you step back on land it’s all a very different story. It seems like land is your friend, but it’s not. You throw the dock lines ashore, as I witnessed Neptune do today (on the OGR FB page), everything is still OK. You see the dock and all is well and a long ocean voyage is over, but when you jump ashore it’s a whole different ball of wax (I don’t like that analogy so I am not sure why I used it but I did anyway). But however, when you jump on the dock that whole rhythm of being at sea for 40 days is still gurgling (nautical term) around in your head. Let’s just say that it takes more that a few days to get your land legs back again. Until then you are lurching (another nautical term) from lamppost to lamppost trying to steady yourself. I speak from experience because once – actually this was in Auckland – I missed the lamppost and hit the dirt; quite badly. Well to be perfectly honest, and I have to be honest, it may have had as much to do with the eight beers that I had downed (rapid re-hydration) at a local pub just up from the street where the boat was docked.

So, let’s get back to boat racing. Evrika is flopping around like a wingless duck. No breeze. No offense to the great Dominique Dubois. No wind means no speed and last check they were doing just 1.2 knots. That must be so frustrating when you can smell the finish line and not being able to make it there in time for closing time.

The outlaws on Outlaw are getting hunted down by Galiana WithSecure with my old mate Tapio calling the shots. Remember, he’s from Finland and they eat moose up there. But as I was saying, just 12 miles separate them and as I have said before, the east coast of New Zealand can be tricky, ask Evrika.

Meanwhile Explorer is skirting the 45 degree south waypoint with a stiff one up the chuff (I don’t care anymore – that’s what it’s called when you are sailing in the Southern Ocean so skip the hate mail…🙂). There is a strong low pressure just below them and they have hitched a ride; a good one. At last check they were averaging (averaging) close to 10 knots. A good Saturday if you ask me, by no one ever does except my wife who asks me to rake the rest of the leaves. Sterna is also trying to hook into the same low and catch a slingshot around that same waypoint. How much fun is sailing around the world?

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