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Battle for the Baltimore Vol. 2

WE FINISHED THE RACE!! All safe and well as we crossed the line last night
at 2027 local time. We then headed straight to Salem for some much needed
showers, and to clear customs before we head to Boston on the 16th.

The Battle for the Baltimore. Vol. 2

At last we spoke the valiant efforts of white watch with the cruising chute
hoisted high and full had placed Rona II ahead of the Pride of Baltimore II.
With the winds of constant change, the wind shifted forward of the beam and
the cruising chute could no longer hold. A swift shift back to white sails
with the crew drastically attempting to maintain the lead. However with the
wind direction Baltimore made better use and crept past Rona. Over the next
few hours, Baltimore disappeared over the horizon, out of reach as the first
waypoint, a mere 600 miles from the start appeared on the display.
With Blue watch on deck, Rona rounded the first waypoint hardening up and
coming into the wind, with Baltimore still 6 miles to the better. However
with the new change in course the pendulum of chance swung back into Rona's
favor. She began to reel in the Baltimore clipper, which was struggling to point as
high into the wind.
By the next morning, Baltimore had slipped down wind away from the second
waypoint and for the time being it seemed Rona had got them! Atlantic sun
beating down, a beautiful day saw Rona part from Baltimore as they took
different routes toward the final mark.
Sun Setting over the Atlantic, it was to Blue watch's amazement, a dolphin
emerged from the emerald seas. All thoughts of the race were swiftly
abandoned by the entire crew, as 50 dolphins engulfed the boat, amongst
their numbers, the sound of a blowhole, the splash of a tail, a giant whale
briefly surfaced. This site, one that they screamed of at the top of their
lungs, as the rest of the crew scrambled into the cockpit, donned in
underwear and lifejackets, eager to observe this beautiful occurrence. Over
the next hour, the dolphins surfed the bow wave and played in the wake,
certainly a memorable moment for the entire crew.
The next morning, nearing the last waypoint Baltimore appeared once again.
As Rona rounded the mark, there was nothing separating the two, a straight
beat to the finish, 80 miles to the west. In all eyes, this had become a
true match race.
Wind dropping the two spent a few hours within a couple of hundred meters of
the each other. Neither wanted to make a mistake as handover an advantage.
Over the next few hours, Rona II reeled out a lead of a few hundred meters,
but with 50 miles to the finish, the wind shifted west, so neither could
head toward the line, a tactical game was afoot!! The time had come, the
first planned tack of the race, both boats heading south west toward the
mark. Predicting a wind shift, Rona II tacked back. This rattled the
Baltimore. Clearly not planning on heading north again so soon her crew
scuttled around the deck, assuming Rona knew something that they didn't.
Baltimore followed suit.
With the boats back on port tack Rona II started thinking. After a heated
debate between the crew and the afterguard, Rona II tacked back again, eager
to keep south anticipating a late wind shift. This time Baltimore stood
firm, opting not to lose time tacking their heavy rig. The mind games were
over. Two boats. Two paths. One finish line. Full steam ahead.
With less than 5 miles to go, it was clear the earlier masterful tactics of
Toby Freeland and helmsmanship of Steve Jackson had paid off. With Alex
White on the helm Rona II crossed the finish line miles ahead of the
Baltimore. Beers on deck and time for celebration, on the home straight,
heading for Salem. Rona had done her best, now all that could be done was
wait for rest of the fleet to finish, America awaited them.
Fin.

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