Sunday, 22 March 2009
Mid-gybe onboard Ericsson 4, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Guy Salter/Ericsson 4/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Guy Salter
Yesterday started in glorious sunshine but was still rather chilly. As the morning progressed we began to be plagued with thick banks of fog in which the temp really did plummet and in which you just got completely drenched. Then, after an hour, you would suddenly emerge from the fog back into a lovely sunny and slightly warmer spot.
On the horizon, the dark band of the next fog bank would be visible and yet again you would be shrouded in the low cloud with visibility diminished to a mere two boat lengths at worst.
We also saw a lot of kelp and weed floating yesterday and inevitably it ended up on our submersed appendages, so the ritual of endoscope, board lift and rudder clean became the norm. We even had one back down which didn’t really happen as smoothly as you would see in an America’s Cup pre-start - but it did rid us of the weed, so an overall success.
The big change yesterday, which has probably had the most impact on day to day life happened at 0200 UTC this morning when the breeze built and went aft and at a similar time the sea temp rose by about 7C to 17C. As we sped through the night the sea acted as a radiator and with plenty of water over the deck several layers of thermals have been returned to the kit bags only for them to see the light of day at a Brazilian launderette.
At present we are running on port in a very sloppy and mixed up seaway in 14kt of wind and we are anticipating a gybe onto starboard with the weather predicting and relatively fast starboard tack into Rio - although I’m sure this will change and allsorts happens when you get within striking distance of land!
I seem to remember Knut (Knut Frostad Volvo Ocean Race CEO and skipper of Djuice in 2001-02) and his boys in pink on the 2001-02 edition of the race coming from absolutely nowhere and going the inshore route to grab a podium finish into Rio and knock my team down a place.
Poor old Blood (Phil Jameson) has probably been the cleanest person on a Volvo 70 but has also suffered a fair amount from salt water rashes on this leg. I guess it’s due to the fact that he is constantly under water, I’m surprised he isn’t growing gills. His latest episode has made his top lip swell and unfortunately the rest of us can’t help but find it amusing - luckily Blood is as good as receiving as taking the mickey. He does look like he has had Botox (UK readers think Leslie Ash) and his mouth is similar to Homer Simpson’s.
On the other scale, it has been revealed that two individuals have been at the other end of the cleanliness scale revealing that they can count on one hand the amount of times they have cleaned their teeth! I would just warn their partners to bring some wire wool and a power washer as we have all noticed their dragon’s breath and we all haven’t washed properly since the start. I won’t reveal their identity but they are both from the southern hemisphere! The joys of offshore racing!
Volvo Ocean Race