Last minute adventures in the final day of the Global Ocean Race

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Today is the last full day at sea for us, in around 24 hours we should be
making landfall and reach Les Sables D'Olonne and bring to a conclusion
this epic jurney.

We've been making very good progrees with strong following winds pushing
us for days but the adventure is not quite over yet. Last night as the
front was passing through we were flying towards the finish line with our
medium spinnaker in strong building winds, admittedly we were on the limit
but it was such a joy to see the boat surfing at 15-20 knots that i wished
to take that memory home with me.

All was fine, the front came through with gusts of nearly 40 knots that
would send the boat driving through walls of spray. After the front the
wind started to ease and there seemed no further need to change down, just
then the spinnaker came down straight in the water. It was a hell of a job
to retrieve the sail on board as it was acting as a sea anchor, we tried
to stop the boat as best as we could and then an inch at a time we managed
to drag the cloth into the cockpit. Miraculously the sail did not even get
damaged, it had not been torn by the wind, instead, a stainless steel
shackle that holds the sail attached to the sock had broken, a rather
unlikely and unpredictable failure but that shackle has been twice around
the world and I have to accept these things can happen. All in all, apart
from getting soaked and tired there were no consequences to the incident,
we promptly hoisted the smaller spinnaker and kept going.

As i write we are crossing the imaginary line between Ouessant and Cape
Finisterre that delimits the bay of Biscay. The route to and from these
two points is one of the busiest shipping routes in Europe leading into
the traffic of the English Channel. We had been used to seeing the
occasional ship in the North Atlantic which is certainly the busiest of
the seas we crossed, but here, suddenly the AIS anti collision system woke
up and is currently plotting 12 ships in range, all travelling along this
route, pretty much like crossing a motorway.

Further in the bay, where the sea bed rises sharply from thousands of
meters to shallow waters we'll have to watch for french fishing boats, a
real threat, Hugo Boss was famously hit by one just outside Les Sables
D'Olonne, let's hope they are on strike today!

I'm sure a part of me will be sad when all of this will be over, but the
anticipation for the completion of this journey is enormous, my fiancee
Ella is now travelling from London to come and meet me on the finish line
and it will be a really special feeling after 10 months of separation
interrupted by brief visits at each stopover. Several family and friends
will travel to meet me in Les Sables and I think as the days will pass it
will all start to sink in, that we have sailed around the world.

Certainly the return to land will have its share of challenges, hopefully
an offer on the boat will materialise soon to enable me to deal with the
debts i racked up and get by until i find a job. None of this is life
threatening though, only a temporary hassle which i think pales in
comparison to what we're achieving. A massive thanks to those who have
sent fresh funds through, a webpage that was
setup as a bit of a joke and that put me back in the game when I very
nearly retired from the race in New Zealand, these contributions have made
a make or break difference to the project, thank you all!

Time to concentrate for the final stretch...

Great finish! by Kev (not verified)