Monday, 2 March 2009

VOR: ERICSSON 3 LEG FIVE DAY 15 QFB: received 28.02.09 2049 GMT

Martin Krite sewing ropes onboard Ericsson 3, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Gustav Morin/Ericsson 3/Volvo Ocean Race.

Adrenalin, beards and celebration

by Gustav Morin

I just had a moment. One of those moments when you start to think that everything about this race is pretty cool again. Living in this bubble that we do sometimes makes you forget that.

We have been going pretty slowly for a couple of days and it has been really warm. It is very nice to be on deck during the mornings and afternoons when the sun is low. But it gets a bit boring, in the long term. These boats are built for action. And yesterday we got some.

Clouds were surrounding us. They sucked up all the wind and left us lying almost still. But all of a sudden, one cloud started to rain and push gusts of 20 knots on us. At the same time, we got a lift and the boat accelerated in seconds. 10-13- 15- 17-18-19-20-22 knots!

The traveller was released instantly, also some mainsheet.

“Release checkstay and pump more outhaul, Magnus Woxén was calling from windward with the traveller in his hand. Martin Krite was on the project before Woxén finished the sentence. The sail was quickly becoming more flat, releasing more air from the top with a more efficient shape for the higher speed.

It was completely flat water and we were swishing along with the adrenalin- rushing shout from the daggerboards and some nice speed swells behind. Everyone were instantly smiling and on top of the game. At the same time we were crossing our fingers for the wind to stay.

It brought my thoughts back to sailing skiffs. With the long bowsprits, huge gennakers and flat hulls, it doesn’t take much wind before you take off and get a thrilling ride. A VO70 is like an enormous skiff with the same feeling that there is no stop to it. But is has a swing keel instead of trapezes and it’s equipped with a galley, bunks and navstation so you can take on any sea.

The movements in the boat are pretty much the same – very quick and intense – and you have to hold on.

On the housekeeping front Magnus Olsson had a big moment today. He is a true coffee addict and he was very disappointed when there was no ‘real’ coffee in the day bag the first days. Just cappuccinos and small bags with ready mixed coffee. Magnus wants the real stuff, with only coffee in it, ‘no sugar or any other crap’.
I had a look through almost half of our food bags but couldn’t find it. At this stage, 15 days into the race and 18 days at sea for most of us, he has got used to it. But this morning I opened a bag I didn’t look in before. And there it was. Magnus was celebrating.

Since it has been pretty calm and very warm down below, the last couple of days some of the guys have a hard time sleeping during their off watch. There is more emailing to girlfriends, more news reading, and the magazine that Magnus Woxén brought onboard will probably fall in pieces soon. Also Magnus Olsson has had more quizzes going on than usual. In seconds he can come up with a bunch of tricky questions. It can be about mountains, actors, movies, capitals, sports, and today also cars. “Name four brands that start and end with the same letter?” At last something I could answer, joining the club of worthless knowledge.

We also have a beard competition going. We start to look pretty bad out here. Not that anyone cares, but if I send some close ups you will get a good laugh.

Volvo Ocean Race

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