By Brian Hancock
While we wait, with great anticipation, for Sterna, and those bloody explorers on Explorer (it’s not their fault) to cross the finish line. Blame it on the wind. Actually a lot can be blamed on the wind, both good and bad, but there you go. “Life Hey”. Sterna is closing in with just over 150 miles to go, and Explorer are not that far behind. They have been dealt a cra**y hand but they can deal with it and that’s yacht racing for you. But before you know it they will be stern-to in Punta and if I know my South African friends on Sterna they will be looking for that disco.
While things are quiet and there is time in Uruguay, let me tell you a story. Sorry, you knew that I would do this, but here you go. When I was in that beautiful country many years ago. Ugh it’s not that much fun getting old and I am just in my thirties with a 36 year old daughter (how did that happen – and a grandson Emmet) but anyway I digress. We were invited to the home of a famous artist, actually Uruguay’s most famous artist but sadly I can’t remember his name – even with the help of Wiki. That aside. He lived in a house (well let’s call it a mansion – it had well over 100 rooms after all). It overlooked the Rio del le Plata. An absolutely magnificent structure, but if I may say a tad difficult to navigate.
We were invited there as crews of a yacht race that ended in Uruguay. We dressed in our finest (which wasn’t much) and tried to find the front door, which wasn’t easy. There was no one to show us the way but after a while we found ourselves looking out over the Rio de la Plata and the expanse of Uruguay. It was a clear day and in the distance we could see Argentina. There was a man there wearing some riding chaps looking out over the water. I stood next to him but he didn’t notice me, but after a while he said, “you one of the sailors?” I nodded. He said, “how was your passage?” I said that it was easy.
He introduced himself. He said, “my name is Nando Parrado.” Now we could leave this right here, but I can’t. Do you remember that plane crash in the Andes Mountains with an Uruguayan soccer team on board? Well I do, and Nando was one of the survivors. I need to save this for two parts because there is not much to talk about when the boats, well most of them, are safely tied to the dock in Punta del Este, but nonetheless I recognised his name. In fact I had read the great Piers Paul Read book on the boat. He had described how the survivors had to eat the dead to survive.
But more of that tomorrow.
For now let’s just focus on the boats still out on the racecourse. They are booking it the best they can. Soon they will have this leg in the can. My hope is that the whole OGR fleet can start out of Uruguay at the same time and race their butts off back to England. Translated 9 have left the Falklands and are doing great. They are on their way to Punta. What an adventure. Bubbles up… 😊