I'm just catching up with the latest edition of the Vendee Globe, which started 10 days ago from Les Sables D'Olonne (see photo up top) while I was offshore sailing Lunacy to Puerto Rico. I wasn't too surprised to find that several boats (5 of the 20 that started, or 25 percent of the fleet) almost immediately had to quit because of damage they suffered, as this seems to be Standard Operating Procedure in round-the-world races these days. But I was a bit chagrined to see that two of the five casualties were due to collisions with fishing boats and that nine different boats (i.e., almost half the fleet!) are under protest for violating the traffic-separation scheme off Spain's Cape Finisterre.
It's one thing to run a top-flight cutting-edge sailboat race in which some vessels prove too fragile to finish the course. It's quite another to have people sailing boats like this as though they were bumper cars.
News & Views
A replica of the good ship Bounty, of Mutinous Fame, has sunk off the Carolina coast south of Cape Hatteras this morning and two of the 16 (or 17???) crew members are reported missing. The vessel, under the command of Robin Walbridge, departed New London, Connecticut, on Thursday, bound for Florida. Evidently, the plan was to sneak past Hurricane Sandy and get west of the storm before it got too far north.
Here's a titillating bit of synchronicity. It seems that marathon voyaging champ Reid Stowe, who has spent much of the last year living with his family in the jungles of Guyana working to refit his schooner, will soon be leaving South America, just as his old buddy Ivo van Laake sails in from Europe on a cruise with his family. Reid's mom Anne (see photo up top), after whom his schooner is named, died recently, and Reid's current plan is to sail north to North Carolina via the West Indies and move in with his dad. Meanwhile, Ivo, a Dutch sculptor living in France, has acquired a rugged metal cruising boat, which he has named Vlaag, after the tiny plywood boat he cruised the Pacific on when he was young. He cast off his lines last month and is currently en route to Madeira and ultimately to Brazil.
Gino Covacci found this object on the beach in Pompano Beach, Florida, this past Wednesday.
The web has since been abuzz with speculation as to what it might be. Do you think it is:
A) An alien probe sent from a distant planet?
B) An eyeball from a squid?
C) Some kind of sexual organ?
D) An eyeball from a whale?
E) A fetal bowling ball?
F) An eyeball from a swordfish?
NO ONE HAS BEEN PAYING MUCH ATTENTION, as she's been wandering around far from land all this time, but as of today Hurricane Nadine has been raging in the North Atlantic for 18 days, which puts her in fourth place on the list of longest-lived named Atlantic storms since 1950. And she's still not done yet.
HE WAS THE FIRST profoundly deaf sailor to circumnavigate the British Isles (1981), the first sail a solo transat (2005), and now Gerry Hughes is going for the big enchilada: solo non-stop all the way around the world via the Southern Ocean. He left Troon, Scotland, on September 1 and is currently south of the Cape Verdes, about 700 miles north of the equator.
He's already had a fair share of trouble. Tab through the updates on the news page on his website and you'll see he's been puzzling over a busted generator, roller-furler, and windvane since leaving Scotland and has been muttering about having to pull in somewhere for repairs. He was all set to put into the Cape Verdes to deal with the generator, but then managed to sort it out and keep going.
That's right, today's the day. The 10th anniversary no less. Time to get with the program, check out the official website, join in the video contest, and practice rolling your ARRRRRRRs.
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