After a very long Southern Ocean crossing we have arrived in Western Australia. The mileage countdown for the last two days seemed to be declining very, very slowly. At one point it seemed that we would be able to catch up to Mission Impossible and Ichorcoal, but alas this was not the case. After us overtaking Ichorcoal on the last mile or so into Capetown, it seems that Mission Impossible did the same thing to them coming into Albany, crossing the line just two minutes in front of them. Unbelievable, after more than 5,000 miles across the ocean. For us, it was a lot more than 5,000 – our GPS log was well on the way to 6,000 for the 4,800 mile race. Perhaps we should win the award for the longest leg??
It was my turn to chair one of the lunch time meetings again – and I had to think of something else to say about me that nobody knows. So, out came the story of my lap of the Nurburgring.
The question I was then asked was “Are you The Stig?”. Not sure that my lap time of over 17 minutes would even get me an interview!!
We also had another spinnaker repair, after a gybe went a little awry. Another tear and a few holes saw Emily get her trusty machine out, and expertly mend the sail. Emily leaves the boat in Airlie Beach – so we have her for just one more leg. I fear she will be missed sorely. Not only does she have the knowledge of how the industrial sewing machine works, she can manage to do a tremendous job whilst heeling over at 45 degrees and in the dark. Not sure who is going to be able to follow that!
I had visions of sailing into Australia wearing shorts and sandals – not so. We still needed thermals and full wet gear on right to the finish line. We hit a patch of light wind a couple of days out, which meant our lunch time arrival on 25th was put back to dinner time. We actually crossed the finish line at around 9pm, in total darkness. The first leg where we have not been able to see where we were coming into. We spied land a few hours out, but by the time we arrived the sun had disappeared and all that could be seen was a few lights in the harbour. No photographer boat to welcome us, and very few people on the jetty. None of the other boats crews were there to cheer us in – bit of an anti climax really. I think we should arrive at a decent time of day for all the next legs. And early in the arrival calendar window rather than at the end. But, on the other hand we gave the small welcoming committee a rendition of George’s song that was entered into the poetry competition. It made everyone laugh, and is one that will probably go on and on. If I get the words to this, and any of the other entries, I will post them on here. By the time we pulled up at the jetty and had put away the sails, it was nearly midnight. There were those amongst us that were straight off to the pub – exactly the right time of day to arrive!
On the plus side, Australian immigration and customs had come to us, and the formalities were over with very quickly. We had a bio-security man come on board, and take away our mayonnaise and biltong. We didn’t have that much food left – we were on emergency rations by the end, so we managed to eat most of what we had. Still got ten packs of cornflakes though! My prediction at the outset that they would last until Derry seems to be holding up well.
I had the offer of staying with a fellow crew member who lives in Albany, and is joining DaNang in Airlie Beach. She was on the wharf to meet me – what a star! I wasn’t sure if I would be spending the night on the boat – jolly well hoped not!! A couple of wives and girlfriends were also at the wharf, but the welcoming committee was not what is usually is in daylight hours. And it was cold. Something I was not expecting. I need a little sunshine to warm up after those long, bitter night shifts.
When I finally get to land and enjoy the benefit of wifi, one of my first places to visit is my blog page to see what photos Paul has chosen to accompany my words. They usually make me chuckle, but when I saw the picture of the surfer I had to laugh out loud. All I can say to that is “In your dreams”! In mine too!!
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In case anyone missed it – here it is again!
Editing and the choice of images on this blog is entirely by Paul keevil!
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