Tuesday, 24 February 2009

VOR: ERICSSON 3 LEG FIVE DAY 10 QFB: received 23.02.09 1019 GMT

Rolling the dice

by Gustav Morin

It has been a very nice and at the same time an enormously exciting day in the
Volvo Ocean Race. During the night we made huge gains on the front fleet and in the morning we could see Puma in bearing 90 degrees. And by then we were still gaining.
They were sailing much lower than us but pretty much at same pace and for a while it seemed like we were going the come really close to each other. But, suddenly, they got some breeze that we didn’t and just took off. Fortunately for us, that only lasted for about 30 minutes, and we were back in the game.

We have reached the Doldrums and the game of rolling dice can begin. Even though the convergence zone is not as big as it has been at the last crossings (leg one and leg two), it is still impossible to predict what’s going to happen with the wind the next coming days.

We have had very calm conditions today, but it is still a lot of action since we have to keep 100 per cent watch for the clouds and try to find the best way around them. Otherwise you can easily get stuck, like Puma did earlier.

“This is just like fleet racing in light air, when it is all about finding the wind”, commented bowman Anders Dahlsjö as he stood by the daggerboard keeping watch on the wind and the monster at the horizon. This race is a lot about endurance and until now it has been pretty tough.

“Everyone has been fighting so hard to keep the boat going at 100 per cent and it’s fantastic that we are doing so well and staying in good shape even though we haven’t had any time to rest since Singapore, because of the crack in the hull. It has just been a full on marathon for us on Ericsson 3”, says skipper Magnus Olsson.

New crew member Magnus Woxén agreed:
“Endurance is definitely a big part of this race. Since I got onboard in China it has been full on fire housing and everyone is really happy to get a calm day like this when we can dry out and step out of the wet weather gear”.

Some of the guys took the opportunity to get a freshwater wash. It is important to try and stay as clean as possible in the heat. Everyone is struggling with rashes from the heat and from always being wet. A good wash should help some.

It has been warm the last couple of days but since it still has been wet sailing we haven’t been able to open up the hatches. Today we could open both hatches over the galley and aft and make the air flow all the way through the boat, and for the first time in a long while, the smell is actually acceptable down here. At least someone from the outside would no longer faint from just sticking his nose under deck.

On the last sched Puma was three miles ahead and our sistership 25 miles. No big gains or losses during the day between us. Interesting is that Green Dragons decision to go east seems to start paying off. The next coming days will be very interesting.

Volvo Ocean Race

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