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Guest Blogger Matt Maples: When Ships Race Like Horses

Posted by Tall Ships America on July 29, 2011

27-07-2011  

2330 – 58˚53.6’N x 6˚02.6’E – Hogsfjorden, Norway.

By Matthew Maples
The race was ending just as dramatically as it had begun. A mere 12 miles of the North Sea lay between us and the finish as we bore closer, downwind in the night-fallen sea. The Pogoria was visible in the darkened mist with her red over green sailing lights shining like eyes perched upon her mast. She was close, very close in fact, and I watched her creep closer through the gloom as our watches handed over duties. We square-riggers were not alone. The Norwegian Live was close by, as well as another yacht, tagging along with our pack. All were close by, in lengths that could be measured in meters, not miles.  We were all bearing down for the finish like racehorses bottlenecking at the last moment. The beginnings of tall ship races often begin with the tall ship fleet jockeying for position, but never have I seen the last leg of a tall ship race have the same close-quarters wrangling that we now found ourselves in. 

Soon, the Polish Pogoria was closer on our starboard, close enough that we could look inside their deckhouse through their lighted windows and hear the water whoosh against their hull. What was she scheming? Did she want to force her way across our bow and oblige us to give way? Did she want to sweep onto our port side and go for the closer side of the finish line?

To continue reading Matt Maples’ adventures on Europa, click here

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