Friday, 6 March 2009

VOR: PUMA Leg Five Day 20 QFB: received 05.03.09 0353 GMT (2)

PUMA Ocean Racing approaching the scoring gate, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Kenny Read (skipper)

Close but no cigar! Not literally, because we still have a few left over from Micky's (Michael Mueller/GER) baby shower...but figuratively.

After nearly 6000 miles of sailing the scoring gate was decided while going through a weather ridge about 500 miles from the scoring gate. Essentially Ericsson 4, Ericsson 3 and ourselves were lined up about one mile from each other ready for action. We took the leeward side expecting a large header. The breeze did head, but after a cloud literally came in and took Ericsson 4 away over the horizon in front of us. Ericsson 3 was next, off to about a 2 mile lead. Then il Mostro.

What ensued was a high speed port tack very wet reach, which had pretty much nothing in it. When we finally bailed out and started for the ice gate still 10 miles or so away from the scoring gate it was Ericsson 4 and Ericsson 3 who held on to nip us by almost exactly the amount they nudged us by at the ridge. A frustrating third, but I have said before and will say again - not for lack of trying. The boys aboard are in great spirits and we have preached a short memory. Time to concentrate on winning the gate at Cape Horn.

One thing that ceases to amaze me out here is the quickness of climate change. It seems like it went from sweating hot to four layer cold in about a day. Literally a day. We have a bit of a reprieve now, but we are in for an upwind slog for a couple days before we can get to some quick reaching to take us to the first ice gate. From there on it is anyone's guess.

Except for a few new cases of the ‘throw up and pooping flu’, all is well aboard. The bug has almost knocked off all of us by now. Slowly and painfully. Capey (Andrew Cape) and Justin (Justin Ferris) have been the latest victims. But studs that they are, they have not missed a watch or a weather download analysed. Very impressive because, to be honest, they both looked like crap. Both have turned the corner though. And since I share a bunk with Capey I can say that my time is probably right around the corner. I am hoovering vitamins and water to try and ward it off, as well as sleeping with my jacket as a pillow and not our regular camping pillow - one of life's little luxuries aboard the yacht. Really hope I can keep this illness at bay.

One funny thing...Jerry Kirby and I live in the northeast US in Newport, RI. Our friends and family emails to the boat routinely are full of phrases like ‘it is so miserable here because we have a foot of snow’ and, ‘you aren't missing out on anything by not being here because the weather sucks...’ You get the drift. He and I always get a chuckle when we get these notes. And we are sure that everyone has the best intentions, kind of like trying to share in weather misery with us. But to her credit my wife Kathy finally caught herself today and said something like... 'would like to complain about the weather etc but I realise you have been on a gutted out race boat with 11 guys for 20 days now and I don't think I have a leg to stand on’...

How true. So to all back home - for us - cosy up in front of the fire after taking a hot shower and have a glass of Shiraz - with a nice thick steak. I am pretty sure that was the dream I had last off watch anyway. All is well on il Mostro and the more miserable it is, will only make the wine and steak taste all the better in Rio.

Volvo Ocean Race

No comments: