by Brian Hancock
Bruce Schwab has much to be happy about, and judging by the size of the smile on his face as he crossed the finish line in Tauranga this morning, he knows he should be happy. What started as a dream many years ago is now more than a reality. Schwab not only built the boat of his dreams, but he is competing in the race of his dreams and is now more than half way around the world. In bright sunlight, and with all sails flying, Schwab sailed Ocean Planet across the finish line looking spectacular. It was a fitting finish to what had been a frustrating few days of sailing.
Earlier in the leg Bruce had sailed up to Emma Richards on Pindar and the two skippers sailed side by side. “It was just fantastic to see Emma,” he said. “We were waving madly at each other, but we also knew that we were in a race so we kept on racing hard. It was great to see another person, especially Emma.”
The wind has been “on the nose” since the Tasman, at times blowing hard, and Schwab, slowed by not having ballast for stability, made gradual progress towards the finish. Then the wind died altogether and Bruce witnesses a beautiful sunrise over a glassy ocean. Five miles from the finish line he parked up again and waited for the spectator fleet to sail out to greet him. When it was obvious that he was not going to be going anywhere fast, Bruce pulled out his guitar and sang for the crowds. His singing also brought on some wind and with the new breeze Ocean Planet scooted across the finish line to take fifth place in Class 2. His official finish time was 10:17:22 local time (21:17:22 GMT on January 15)
For photos go to: http://www.aroundalone.com/raceviewer/archive/