Tuesday, 3 March 2009

VOR: ERICSSON 3 LEG FIVE DAY 17 QFB: received 02.03.09 1232 GMT

Bright as neon lights

Ericsson 3 pick up speed, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Gustav Morin/Ericsson 3/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Gustav Morin

Suddenly this afternoon we could see both Puma and Ericsson 4 on the horizon and everyone got on their toes again. Even though the guys did not relax before it felt like they stepped up a bit when they could see the other boats.

It is probably like that in every sport. Of course a 100 m sprinter performs better when he has someone running next to him. A pure competitive mind always performs a bit better when racing.

We have had a very calm day with perfect cruising conditions. We have been sailing pure downwind for the first time this leg. Big asymmetric sail up, ten knots of wind, flat water, sun shining and almost 30 degrees in the water.

A crusing sailor couldn’t ask for more. But we can’t enjoy it fully.

If you were cruising you would definitely jump in the water and drag behind every now and then. That is not going to happen here. You are lucky if you can get away from the sun at any time. Usually you can’t and, as a trimmer or helmsman, it’s pretty exhausting working with the sun straight above your head, and when you go down below to rest, it is not a nice air-conditioned environment...

But you get use to it and during the mornings, afternoons and nights it is a fantastic feeling being onboard. The crew has a hard time sleeping during the warm days and the try to spend the time fixing stuff and preparing for the future. Anders Dahlsjö is responsible for the interior and he had some laminating to do in the galley today.

“Everything is built as light as possible and if a 100 kg guy falls into the galley it will break. You can’t build bulletproof, instead, you build at the limit and fix if it breaks. Eivind Melleby was taking care of his clothing and Martin Krite was fixing the forestay, Martin Strömberg was going through what has to be fixed with the sails and Thomas Johanson took some winches apart. There is always maintenance to be done.

There has not been much to look at during this trip. Only the islands of Fiji and we have seen dolphins once. Tonight I also saw some phosphorescence, a fantastic phenomena which sparkles in the darkness and lights up the hull as if there were neon lights underneath it. I hope our next sched will be just as bright as these fantastic small planktons that make sailing at night a bit more exotic.

Volvo Ocean Race

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