Saturday, 28 February 2009
PUMA crew crossing the equator. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Kenny Read (skipper)
The days are clearly starting to tick away, and I believe we have our friends on Ericsson 3 to thank for that.
Literally we are in a race with them which couldn't be closer. I have won or lost by larger margins on 12 mile windward leewards at Key West Race Week. They get us a bit, we get them a bit. Bottom line, we are glued to each other.
So what does that do? Sure does heighten the concentration and awareness. We probably do more sail changes than we would if we were on our own (maybe). Constant watching the radar to see our progress and check modes, and much more chatter and trim about the job at hand. Even Jerry (Jerry Kirby) has cut down a bit on the stories in order to be vigilant. Sure, I wish they were about 300 miles astern, but at the same time we are probably helping each other sail more efficiently and aggressively - and certainly passing the time quicker than we would be on our own.
As for general strategy, we have a pretty large island called Fiji smack in the way. A bit of precarious weather around the island will make for a huge gain or loss depending if you guess right for the short or long term. Capey (Andrew Cape – navigator) has been wracking his brain overtime trying to figure this one out. As always, I sit there and throw as many questions at him possible to try and get all options on the table. We shall see how this one settles out.
Besides that, life is pretty calm on the yacht. Twelve knot winds, hard on the wind on port tack makes for painfully slow mileage but that is what we have in the ‘upwind around the world race’. Hopefully the wind gods smile on us soon and free us up, but it doesn't look like that will happen for a while. Until then, it is back to hand to hand battle with Ericsson 3.
Volvo Ocean Race