Thursday, 19 February 2009
Casey Smith fixing PUMA Ocean Racing's broken steering wheel, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Kenny Read (skipper)
When we started this journey Sidney Gavignet promised me that we would do some phenomenal sailing that I would remember for the rest of my life. Clearly the last two days were the ones he was describing. Fast, warm reaching down the Pacific. A little moist on deck, but a little water is always involved when you mention the word fast.
As for the race itself, we are pretty pleased at this point to be holding on to Ericsson 4 in conditions they have excelled in on past legs, and we are constantly stretching on the rest of the pack. And it really has been a flat out drag race. All of this ocean to choose from and the five boats are essentially travelling down very similar paths. The goal is to meet up with the easterly trades far enough to the east so we aren't hard on the wind. Also, we will try to position ourselves to the east of some light air near the doldrums.
Hopefully we will make it though the dreaded doldrums a little more unscathed this time. So far, as Jochen Zeitz (the head of PUMA) pointed out, we are pretty much 0-2 while trying to get through the dreaded doldrums. Since we have two more passages though there we are trying in vain to even the score.
As Jochen said "I hate the doldrums!" Believe me Jochen, when I say that every sailor out here shares your sentiments exactly.
Life onboard has really settled in and fortunately some of the bumps and bruises that were received by a few of the boys in the first 36 hours are healing up. Doesn't look like anything terminal. Clearly Kirby's (Jerry Kirby/USA) storytelling hasn't taken a hit. Shannon Falcone has taken a breather in order for Jerry to hop back on board for this leg. As Jerry's wife Kim knows, the peace and quiet on board is now gone and Jerry can be heard laughing and bringing up another story pretty much at all hours of the day.
Don't tell him I said this, but he is the perfect guy for a leg like this. Believe me, there is never a dull moment with Mr Kirby around. And he actually knows when to take things serious as well. Something that I think it has taken all of his years to learn!
Tonight, the train may come to a halt as we run into some lighter air later and then the trades start up at a tighter angle. Still some nice sailing but not quite the bullet train that we are riding now. Plenty more to come.
Volvo Ocean Race