ell, it's a foggy North Atlantic morning and we just finished our last serving of porridge, or as Paul so affectionately refers to it,
The last 24 hours have remained fairly stable in that not
much has changed out here. As I'm sure you all well know, we are
still fully immersed in our match race with the Blue boat. We've
averaged a gain of 1 mile per sked in the last three and currently
sit 22 miles due east of Swedish Match. Rudi says we have about 18 hours to go, so if we can hold them off till then, we should be in pretty good shape.
Right now, we have the "anaconda" up and are
averaging about twelve knots at the barn. Hopefully the wind will
hold through the evening and we won't have to try drifting through
the swift currents just outside of La Rochelle.
Last night, we, the boys of the EFL, crossed a major milestone in
both this race and in our lives. It was about 1 am when Rudi's
voice came over the intercom declaring that we had just "tied the
knot". What he meant was that we had just crossed our track from
Leg One, signifying our circumnavigation, although we have not yet
This, of course, called for a fair share of
reflection over the events that have taken place in the last 14
months. We all agreed that it was pretty freaky to think that five
months ago, we were in Sydney on this very same little yellow
boat . . . on the other side of the world . . . upside down . . . and we
didn't fall off!! Basically the concept that this little yellow
plastic boat has stayed under our feet for 30,000+ miles feels
pretty cool to all of us.
Yup, our big adventure is soon coming to a close. We've all
experienced a lot together, but the thing that amazes me the most
is our ability to remain a cohesive unit. I mean picture this: you
go camping for ten months in a stripped down Winnebago with eleven
of your buddies. Could make for some pretty tense moments, huh?
Well, we've done it, and we're all still smiling. Sure there've
been some moments, but I think that as we all got to know each
other better, we grew to accept one another's different quirks or
idiosyncrasies. Losing Marco for this last leg has really made me
realize something that I think I've been taking for granted. This
group of odd looking, various sized and shaped, mix of buoy
racers, offshore veterans, and knuckleheads, has become a team.
The motley, 16-1 long shot, looking bunch that we were back in
September, had actually come of age. I can honestly say that I
have truly enjoyed being a part of this crew. Every day has been a
great day, even the really shitty ones.
As May 24 closes in on us, we all speak about how anxious we are
to have a vacation or get back to our lives. To me, this is all
"tough talk", though. Sure, "tomorrow", when we wake up in our
own beds in Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, we'll feel
totally comfortable, warm, and relaxed; but I say give it a week.
Give it a week until we all miss the hectic schedule, the boat
maintenance, our tiny wet bunks, Leonardo de Fettucini, the
"firehose", and a gimballed toilet.
This has been a life experience for each and every one of us . . . one we'll never forget once we're back in our own real worlds. Klabbe will return to
Sweden to star in his own TV mini-series, "The Return of
MacGyver". Magnus will get back to writing his memoirs entitled,
"The World's Happiest Guy". Curtis will go on to become the first
person to climb Everest backwards, aided by nitrous oxide. Juggy
is destined to complete the first in-flight brain surgery on board
a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. Crusty will start a school for public
speaking, specializing in "how to be heard in large groups of
people". I will return to a life of riding wild bulls in rodeos
for the handicapped. Stevie goes back to teaching his jazz
aerobics class, "Sweatin' to the Oldies with Stevie Wonder", in
The Dalles, Oregon. Kimo can be seen down at Pier 39 in San Fran.
selling the worlds most exotic coffees from his deluxe cart. Marco
becomes the 1998-99 Oakley poster-boy. Curt will be starring in
the sequel to the box office smash "Beetlejuice". Rudi will take
over as the new host of the ever-popular American show, "Mystery
Science Theater 2000". And last but not least, Paul will return to
the rigors of wearing #23 for the Chicago Bulls, as he prepares
for the 1998 NBA playoffs.
It's been a great ride. Thanks for following us so closely and
helping to make the 1997-98 Whitbread race a success for everyone.