Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Ericsson 3 plunges into a wave. Image copyright Gustav Morin/Ericsson 3/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Gustav Morin
A rough night
Our navigator usually knows when something is about to go down. And at one moment tonight he had that gut feeling that something. He was right.
Suddenly the wind speed increased rapidly to 40 knots. We were reaching in 36 knots boatspeed and the boat was practically flying. Aksel made himself ready. He wrapped his arms around the closest vertical beam and held it tight.
When you reach speeds like that you know it isn't going to last for long. King Neptune usually puts an enormous wave in front of the boat on occasions like that, just to see some action and make his everyday life, looking at a deserted sea, a bit more fun.
And this time was no exception.
We dived into a big wave and crash stopped. Aksel managed to hold on but he was worried that something was going to break. When 40 knots of wind is pushing the boat forward and a massive wave is holding it back, the loads on sails and rig are huge.
Both the boat and Aksel got through the situation without problem. Jens Dolmer though, who was sleeping in the bunk just next to navstation, wasn't so lucky.
When the boat went down in the dark cave, it leaned over to leeward and water found its way in through port primary winch. I thought we had found all the places were the boat is leaking, but no, here was another one. Water was literally flooding down from the roof and hit Jens right in his face. He woke up in shock, trying to brush the water away.
We had too much sail area up, but we decided to survive for a couple of hours. It would have been tricky and risky to take it down and we knew we would get some lee south of a Japanese island.
So we did. And that was lucky. Just after the change, the wind increased heavily again.
During the night we passed the Green Dragoon and we can now see them behind us.
"We have a few rough days and nights in front of us with a lot of reaching. For the moment it's all about endurance. We will for sure be tired and have sore eyes from all the saltwater spray after this. Luckily the water temperature has increased. It went from six degrees to over 20 in just 24 hours", says navigator Aksel Magdahl.
Volvo Ocean Race