We motor out of Piriapolis at last, on a flat sea, into a faint E breeze. Cloudless and warm. The autopilot is clapped and so, I think, is the wind generator. Tant pis.
There is ostentation and vulgar money in Punta del Este. Row upon row of big, tasteless, lonely-looking power boats. All of them look brand new. [ed note: John, wait until you see Miami!]. Ours is the only cruising yacht in this entire crowded port. Lissome brown girls drape over foredecks while paunchy, bare-chested men shout orders. Smart fleet tenders ferry people to and from their moored boats. Holidaymakers clutching mate apparatus stand and stare.
In striking contrast, tiny fishing boats overloaded with pots, nets and marker buoys wend their way among the millionaires’ toys. Sea lions laze between the boats and a pair of frigate birds soars above.
Chris is dining in Brisbane as I sit writing, reading WH Hudson and finishing off the last dusty molecules of Chatham Albatross.
We’ve been impatiently waiting for the racing fleet to arrive from BA. One of the yachts is bringing a much needed and overlooked bit of forestay. Then we can leave. I feel stupid – I could have bought the part in BA myself, had I realized it was not on the boat. In hindsight, it must have gone over the side when the forestay broke, there being nothing to hold it.