Just ninety five miles to go and we’re sitting pretty in first place.
The skipper and crew are brimming with excitement and anticipation having sailed into the lead this morning. But the thoughts of nightmares past haunt the minds of many of the crew aboard the Derry~Londonderry. They’ve been here before - they looked certain winners heading into Singapore before being gazumped at the final hurdle by Gold Coast Australia, forcing them to settle for a runners-up spot.
They can be almost certain of finishing in eighth place in the overall standings for the 2011-12 challenge now as points rivals Qingdao are out of sight towards the rear of the fleet, some five and a half hours behind.
But feelings of dread over
being pipped at the post once again may not be entirely without merit as just three hours ago the Derry yacht was more than two miles ahead of second placed Geraldton Western Australia, a lead which has now been slashed to about half a mile.
When I ask watch leader Tom Way if we’re going to win and achieve what will be only Derry’s second podium finish in the entire race, he reveals his sense of caution by placing his finger on his pursed lips and
uttering: “shuush”. He knows what it would mean for everyone aboard to get a win and not just any win, but a memorable win at the end of the round the world race.
At a team meeting on deck, Mark Light - who knows these waters like the back of his hand - made it clear that everyone must be on their game to keep the lead boat ahead of the baying pack in the final showdown. “We’ve got between about 12 and 24 hours to the finish. It’s not like we have 500 miles to go so every hour we stay ahead, that’s an hour less they’ve got to catch us.”
“We’re doing all the right things, so if the evolutions are good and we keep concentration on the helm then we’ve got a great chance,” he added.
The excitement mounts but can Gold Coast or any of the others catch the Derry boat. The race hots up and the story continues.