Ashore in Southampton
A tactical error made on start day caused the Isle of Man to struggle at the back of the fleet throughout the leg. Why was it that the yacht felt
so sluggish? We eased the sheets and played with halyard tension as we watched yachts we could usually better on boat speed pass us by. We backed the headsails, reefed the main and sent a diver down. We had trailed a
fishing net in the previous leg and guessed that it had happened once more. Juan surfaced, reporting that the keel was fine and that there was no net but that the propeller was stuck wide open. That would account for a
small loss of speed but did not explain the lethargy that many sensed. Setting off again and having made next to no changes, boat speed was much better. How could that be? It was simply inexplicable.
So there we were in 12th, last of the fleet. If we felt devastated after our finish in La Rochelle, we were gutted to arrive in Southampton in a position we had never
anticipated. Nevertheless, the welcome we received made us feel like champions. After all, we had circumnavigated the globe and over a thousand people turned out especially to welcome the last yacht home.
Sometimes the totally unexpected happens, doesn't it? At the prize-giving, the Isle of Man amazingly and ironically won the trophy for the fastest 24 hour run of Leg 7. LG Flatron emerged
winners of the race overall while the Isle of Man finished 8th out of the fleet of twelve.
The race ends
We have sailed some 35,000 miles in winds up to 78
knots. We have trashed headsails, wrapped kites and seen a spinnaker pole snap like a matchstick. We have shifted and packed sails in a rocking and rolling forepeak and eaten freeze-dried 'food for adventurers'. We have
suffered injury, freezing cold feet and we have been both frightened and excited. We have experienced the Doldrums, rounded Cape Horn and survived the Southern Ocean. As a team, we have laughed, cried, argued and been
angry at times but we have stuck together with the fewest changes in the fleet. We have sailed with whales, dolphins and albatrosses. We have raced our hearts out and suddenly it's all over. We have finished the
'adventure of a lifetime' but we will never forget it.
Jan Giffen .....on terra firma in Cliftonville
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