Tuesday, 3 March 2009

VOR: PUMA LEG FIVE DAY 17 QFB: received 02.03.09 1526 GMT

by Kenny Read (skipper)

I have good news and bad news. The good news first, as I have to try really hard to be an eternal optimist in times like these. We took the lead again today and have Ericsson 3 and Ericsson 4 in our sights - literally. After over 5000 miles of sailing we crossed Ericsson 4 by about a mile late this afternoon.

They gybed a few times - we continued and got out to a three or so mile lead on them. All good right? Well not really. At least for the il mostro team. The bad news is that we are constantly sailing the torturous path of leading the pack into lighter air. We are lighter and lifted compared with the rest of the group, sched after sched. Watching any lead evaporate slowly but surely. Soon, we will have a five-way drag race to the New Zealand's scoring gate. I guess I shouldn't complain much because Ericsson 4 has seen a couple leads evaporate on the leg as well, due to similar circumstances. What goes around comes around?? Or something like that.

Life aboard really doesn't have much to report. Complaints about food, dreams of ice cream, and Kirby stories fill up the day. I actually heard two new stories today that I hadn't heard before from young Jerry (Jerry Kirby). It was an unbelievable moment in my life. He had me almost crying I was laughing so hard. I look forward to meeting a couple of his college buddies to validate these particular tales some day. My guess is that it was about 50% fact and 50% fiction. Really doesn't matter at this point.

Justin (Justin Ferris) had out the sewing machine for a few sail touch ups and was called into duty for a few take ups in the waist of some of our shorts. I was sitting next to him and was watching him take up about an inch out of mine, then try to sew one of the pant legs shut only to run out of bobbin. Whew. Kirby wasn't so lucky. His shorts were turned inside out before sewing the left pant leg completely shut. Hiding the mischievous deed. Right leg in, left leg didn't quite make it.

Hopping around the deck trying to figure out what happened - like getting short-sheeted only with Ricky's (Rick Deppe MCM) camera in full swing getting the entire sequence on video. Probably not as funny if you weren't there, but it was very amusing at the time for those of us involved.

As we approach the halfway point of this leg, all aboard is in relatively good shape. Casey (Casey Smith) and Salty (Rob Salthouse) constantly doing little jobs and the list is down to a few mundane items. That bodes well anticipating the next 10 days of much harder sailing. We have had a dream run down the Pacific and that should come to a screeching halt in about 10 hours. Turn the fire hose back on for some windy close reaching again.

The scoring gate will mark the end to the first part of the leg and the incredible chess match that has ensued. It is anybody's to take right now. Time will only tell.

Volvo Ocean Race

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