Monday, 16 February 2009

VOR: PUMA LEG FIVE DAY 2 QFB: received 15.02.09 0720 GMT

Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR) was first over the line in a slow-motion start in-front of her home town crowd, only to relinquish to the lead to PUMA Ocean Racing (Ken Read/USA - pictured above) as the reduced fleet began their epic journey of 12,300 nautical miles around the infamous Cape Horn and into Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Kenny Read

We are finally off. An amazing send off that you had to be there to understand. The drums, the crowds, the music, the costumes... it all added up to a send off that none of us will ever forget.

And the send off for the race itself is one which none of us will ever forget. Eight boats are entered in this contest, one of which supposedly is somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, out for at least this leg for financial reasons, two are on a ship heading for Rio, broken from the last leg. Only four of us went out to start, and one went back in, supposedly broken in three knots of wind before the starting gun was even fired. And the eighth boat passed us going the other way about five hours after our start, still trying to finish the previous leg! Unreal.

Ericsson 3 skippered by Magnus Olsson (SWE), finishes Leg 4 on start Day for Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Qingdao, China, to Rio De Janeiro. At over 12,000 miles, Leg 5 is the longest leg ever attempted in the history of the race. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

We got off the line well and led out of Qingdao, only to be becalmed soon thereafter. We were in on the shore and Ericsson 4 and the Dragons were offshore. Initial gains to them, but finally the shore came good and we stretched out to a four-mile or so lead going into last night.

During the night we had to head east to meet up with a front that is now catapulting us towards the southern tip of Japan at breakneck speed. As I glance up the speedo is reading steady 30 knots in 27 knots of wind. The boys on deck are a little moist, and the temperature fortunately is a bit warmer than last night. I think the water is actually a bit warmer. But neither the air nor the water are warm per se, just warmer...

I will elaborate further on the leg, our emotions, our chances and of course life on board, but to be honest it is pretty tough typing right now. I will get back to you when things settle down to a dull roar.

Volvo Ocean Race

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