Yesterday was the final starting line in the 2002/2003 Around Alone. It was the usual busy last couple days, but I think I kind of liked the stress to get me psyched up to race! I had a fun start, and was second around the first mark, which was placed me a few miles up the bay so the many spectators could see us go by twice. Now we’re off on Leg 5 to Newport, RI, USA.
I’m pushing at full speed right now, but the main goal is to safely finish this race around the world. I would really like to walk away with a top placing in this final leg, but I have my work cut out for me. Ocean Planet is an innovative boat and most of our ideas have worked brilliantly, but the bottom line is that we came to the Around Alone unfinished and untested. So it has been a struggle all the way to fix, repair, refine, and learn as we go. To be competitive with the other Open 60’s, she really needs to be finished with several features that we never had the time or $ to complete, and there are some other new modifications as a result of this experience and testing learned from sailing around the world.
But for now, Emma is just to leeward of me, and we are neck and neck! Last evening I was next to Simone and we were even until he apparently got things finally dialed in and he took off like a shot. In the last report he had also passed Bernard and Theirry! Seems like he is finally getting Tiscali figured out.
We all can’t wait to get around the tip of Brazil through the doldrums, and crack off across the Atlantic tradewinds. Until “the corner” it’s upwind and close reaching, but at least the ocean is smooth and it’s not bad sailing. But watch out for those freighters! Had one go by within 200 yards last night. Emma was nearby watching and sent me an email wondering what it was like to pass so close. From her angle it looked like we almost hit!
I’ll keep you posted on our trip home,
Bruce and Ocean Planet