Marco Nannini: 24 hours out

Marco Nannini: 24 hours out

Wednesday June 6 2012 Author: Marco Nannini Location: none selected

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 set-up 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...

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