It was a long tough night onboard CAMPER negotiating a transition zone of light shifty winds- a pot hole in the road which had potential to hurt us a lot.
The guys were up most of the night tacking their way through trying to keep rolling at a half decent speed. Negotiations went well until the last hour or so when they fell apart and we were slowed for long enough that the boats ahead of us cruelly took back all of the miles we had worked so hard to take off them during the day.
Another sucker punch the guys seem to take with such steely resolve and determination and carry on hard at it as they were.
It’s looking like the next couple of days will be a bit la-de-da, with not too much happening with the weather, one or two of the models are predicting a bit of a park up and compression in the fleet off the top of New Zealand which is a good thing for us getting back in touch with the leaders, but not such a good thing for actually reaching the finish line in Auckland. Time will tell how the end of this leg plays out because right now, no one can be certain.
We are a couple of hundred miles away from the waters of New Caledonia, a small piece of France in the South Pacific. You have to ask how the French came to own a prime piece of land some 20,000 kilometres from metropolitan France? I am guessing it had something to do with that funny little French man Napoleon and I am pretty certain they didn’t have to fight for it, as we all know the French don’t have the most distinguished military history…
Maybe Groupama will not be able to resist the urge of a fresh baguette and a few snails on their way past and give up some of their lead… Unlikely…
More seriously though we are hoping New Caledonia’s massive wind shadow will cause the leading boats further to the east of us a few headaches that we can avoid being that much further away. All we need is a few hours or a few knots less boat speed from them and the miles will peel away in our favour.
Quiz question: “Who was the Captain of the first European Ship to sight New Caledonia in 1774?”
The highlight of the day for the guys on deck was a stunning aerobatic show put on by a threesome of stunning gannets who joined us for several hours. Weaving in and out of the rigging, darting inches across the bow, then veering off to catch airborne flying fish in their beaks. The birds were obviously not content with finishing their performance without a bang, so scored a direct hit showering Stu, Nico & Adam with a processed flying fish by product. Ha!
Oh well more good luck we are hoping, time and miles are growing scarcer, so luck we may need.
“I sure hope that the old wives tale of good luck coming to those who have been pooed on by birds is true, because we have been sprayed all day by some cheeky gannets. I was the victim of a direct hit while driving, so now we wait for the good fortune while I change my shirt- except I don’t have a clean shirt to change into.” STU BANNATYNE