The yachts have left New York to start their last ocean crossing of this race. Leg 8 and race 12 from New York to Derry LondonDerry is called the Legenderry Final. The start was exiting with changeable wind strengths and directions. The close grouped racing to the first waymark is further south than the straight line to Derry Londonderry because of the iceberg threat so far south this year.
The teams are arriving in New York as I write this blog post. Unicef has finished in 9th place and is motor sailing into New York, not the ranking which we have become accustomed to lately but a great effort under difficult circumstances. It has been a slow start to the race with little wind but it has finished on a high with Tropical Storm Colin, a spinnaker under the boat and a broach at the end of the Ocean Sprint.
Race 11 to New York has started in light airs which means days of little wind and many evolutions. Unicef had a slow start but are now sailing between Cuba and Haiti creeping up the rankings currently in eighth place. At 1930 nautical miles, Race 11, is less than half of the length of the last race. Sailing down the west coast of the USA from Seattle was over 4000NM, so Unicef will need to keep focused to achieve another podium position.
This has been a crazy week consisting of a hero’s welcome, visits to the medical centre and, much more importantly, a moving visit to a day centre for Agent Orange victims, crossing roads with thousands of scooters and motorbikes whizzing past, repairing a 300 square meter spinnaker sail, a gala price giving dinner with original Vietnam entertainment, a visit to an ancient heritage site My Son and the old town of Hoi An and top all that with an evening sailing parade with 250 thousand people lining the river clapping and cheering. Where do I begin? Should I even try to capture all that?
We are going too fast!! Our ETA window (Estimated Time of Arrival) starts at 16th February. This means we cannot enter Da Nang before that date. Another source of exitement are the large container ships and tankers sailing to and from Singapore, crossing our bow or stern in the dark. Did they see us??