As the miles count down, the tension mounts as Read's team anticipates a second place
Dealing with Jerry Kirby is like dealing with a little kid in the back seat of the family wagon on the way to summer holiday.
Jerry: “How much longer?”
Kenny: “200 miles”
Jerry: “How long will it take?”
Kenny: “I don’t know, about 14 hours?”
5 minutes later
Jerry: “How much longer now?”
Kenny: “”two miles less than the last time you asked”
There is some serious angst to get off this family wagon. And it is interesting, for 20 days, I haven’t looked at the date, the time, the distance to finish but, all of a sudden, we all have a time clock that switches on that says–“ok, enough is enough and it is time to go now”. It could be the Block Island Race or the Bermuda Race or the 22-day first leg of the Volvo Race. When you can smell the finish, it is time to get off. I would also like to officially follow up this thought by announcing that by no means does my admitting to wanting to have this leg over with as badly as the next guy, does it mean that I’m not going to punch Kirby hard if he asks one more time “are we there yet?”
In a nutshell, this leg has been fantastic for us. It looks as though, barring any disasters, we will be second. On a tough leg that saw all ranges of conditions. We like our boat, that hasn’t changed. We got faster thanks to a lot of sailing near other boats. We know that there are teams better polished out there and we need to get better to beat them. We understand the rigours of what it will take to win this race better. And our pre-race view that the race will be close and the boats will be pushed harder than ever has rung very true.
Congratulations to E4. They hung around long enough to stretch their legs when they had the chance. They are the proof that “pushing hard” now has an entire new meaning. Many of the Volvo vets from the last race aboard our boat said that we pushed this boat in the rough conditions tons harder than any of the boats were pushed in the last race. Much of that has to do with a bit of trepidation of the unknown and the fact that the keel structures were a new concept and a bit fragile in the last Volvo.
Well, I think that all participants and sponsors alike are pleased with what we have seen so far. These boats are tough and can get pushed harder than most of us ever realised. Will make for a fascinating race I hope. Sure, we all have our snags aboard, but hopefully the trend for the entire fleet remains that the boats are dependable. Go ahead and race hard.
Finally, as all the crews get ready for their families and friends and relatives, a good meal, warm shower and cold beer- it is time to begin concentrating on leg two and what it takes to step up to the next level. Long race this is, but it is nice to have this long first leg under our belt.
Hello Cape Town. But we can’t get too relaxed by your hospitality because in two weeks we will be saying “India- here we come”.
Kenny Read – skipper