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TRANSAT 650 RACE UPDATE - GALE FINISHES RACE!

From: Gale Browning

Sent: 11/5/01 7:52 AM

Subject: I'm in Bahia!

I arrived yesterday early afternoon to a spectacular welcome. Three boats came out to cheer me across the finish line. After I crossed the line and dropped my sails, Mike Inglis (#56) and Sander Bakker (#194) jumped on my boat and gave me big hugs and kisses. An arrival party was waiting at the dock starting with fireworks shot from Notre Dame du Flot, a classic wooden ketch that followed the race as a safety boat. I had plenty of help securing the boat to the dock and furling the sails. I was ushered off my boat to the dock and handed a very stiff cold drink of which I had one sip and handed right back. Then I was offered a plate of fresh fruit—pineapples, papayas, and melons. A beautiful Baiain woman dressed in the traditional festival costume handed me a bouquet of flowers all while being interview in front of three of four cameras.

Only a few hours earlier, I was alone on my boat alternating between looking out at the endless horizon on the ocean and back at the skyline of high rises of the city of Salvador de Bahia knowing that soon the serenity I was enjoying would soon be broken by a hustle bustle world. Then I saw another sail boat. I kept looking and as I got closer I could see it was another Mini. I wasn't in last place yet. The other mini was sailing down wind, wing and wing, with the mainsail on one side and the jib on the other. I was sailing with my spinnaker earlier in the morning but the wind kept clocking around from the East to the Northeast until I could no longer hold my course. So I dropped the spinnaker and decided I would just have a nice relaxing sail to the finish line. But now I had to set the spinnaker. I quickly repacked it, set the pole and hoisted it. Bam! It filled with air and I picked up two knots of boat speed. I sailed a zig zag course to sail the dead down wind to my next mark. The other Mini stayed on her dead down wind course wing and wing and was keeping up with me. How could this be? I was horrified to think that this other boat was going to beat me across the finish line. Finally, I pulled ahead and the other boat beared away on a course to take it south of a shoal area we had to pass. I chose to take a narrow passage between the mainland and the shoal, the other boat when to the south of the shoal and I finished a few hours ahead.

I'm in a bit of a fog today trying to regroup to get on with all the details I will need to work out in the next week to get the boat and myself back to the US.

The boat is for sale. $50,000 includes most equipment required to do the 2003 race.

Cheers,

Gale


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Gale Browning Ocean Racing, Inc.
PO Box 4061
Annapolis, MD 21403

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