i'm about to break

For many of the mainstream, the moment Akzonobel completed the podium interest waned but there are two boats still racing for the finish. The leg has been no less challenging for them, indeed both have suffered from breakages.
It should however be remembered that so often this event either in its current name,  or as it was formerly known the Whitbread Round the World Race, victory has turned on a disaster or the aversion of a disaster.
For example, Heath’s Condor, a fancied yacht in the second ever Whitbread became perhaps the first high profile loss of a carbon spar in an ocean race. Or had Ceramco not lost her stick on leg 1 in 1981 would Connie Van Rietschoten be remembered as a 2 time winner – many think not, Chris Dickson on Tokyo going very nicely in the Atlantic when the boat came very upright, very quickly with the rig over the side.
Even the mighty Steinlager 2 when a runner fitting exploded mid Atlantic having won all 5 legs up to then might have been just another instance of close but no cigar for the great Peter Blake had Brad Butterworth (yes THAT Brad Butterworth) not thrown Big Red into a crash gybe and saved the day allowing the New Zealand team to go to record their unique clean sweep.
Coming right up to date, in the last race the Southern Ocean leg started with Dongfeng in the top spot on countback and those who were following at the time know what happened 250 miles short of Cape Horn. Ironic that Mapfre’s enforced pit stop was so close to Dongfeng’s downfall last time round.
The damage to Mapfre’s overall race hopes will end up less damaging than they could have been with the sad loss of John Fisher resulting in a DNF for Scallywag and their diversion to Chile I sincerely welcome their return to the race in Itajai as I hear they have put on a relief crew and are hotfooting it to Itajai. Add to that the other DNF of Vestas after their stick went over the side.
Last I heard they were still in the Falklands having set off and having to return due to sail drive problems – the only motive power they have after all. Time will perhaps be really right for them, hope they make it.
We should have sympathy for the teams that have had troubles which if you look back at the over the years has impacted on some of those on all of the boats except I think Dee’s boat. Heavens Bowwe (ah- you thought I had forgotten him didn’t you) even had to abandon a boat (Movistar) when she started sinking in the North Atlantic.
We all wish the 4 teams on the water still god speed to Itajai, yacht racing is a tough game, crossing oceans, especially the Southern Ocean makes it even tougher. Me? Well I’m actually quite happy in my role as a keyboard captain!
See ya on the water.
Shanghai Sailor
Title inspiration thanks to Linkin Park. – ed