Saturday, 7 March 2009

VOR: PUMA LEG FIVE DAY 21 QFB: received 06.03.09 15:46 GMT

by Kenny Read (skipper)

I think the crew is starting to believe that Capey [Andrew Cape] and I have put us in the middle of an easterly upwind breeze as part of some really cruel practical joke. We have to keep showing them, one by one, that the other boats are going upwind too. "Isn't anyone running around the bottom of this high, like a normal Southern Ocean leg?" is the common response. "No," we say. "This is the only way out of this mess!"

This common banter is typically followed by a long sigh by said crewmember as he walks away to get on foul weather gear and head back on deck to a chilly and wet and slow slog to the north, looking to find some northerly breeze and some reaching to put some miles under our belts toward the Horn.

On the deck speaker, which we hear below, said crewmember may be heard then saying something like, "they say only 10 more hours of this crap, but didn't they say that 10 hours ago?"


The entire fleet is in the same boat. E3 took the gamble and it looks like it may pay off. Personally I am pleased with our strategy so far, not as large a risk/reward as the E3 strategy but we should end up pretty well placed once the northerlies come into play. As for the rest of the fleet, the only contact we have had is with the Telefonica Blue guys who reported to us that they had broken their headstay but were pushing on. We feel really bad for those guys, and I am not envious of the decisions that have to be made on their boat with regard to continuing across this notorious body of water, or to head back to New Zealand and replace their broken headstay. We sincerely wish these guys all the best and a safe passage.

As for life on board, it is business as usual. Life happens in cycles of two hours. Every two hours a new group of two rolls out of their bunks and two come down soaked from on deck. Every six hours the weather comes through and we pour over every detail looking for an edge. It seems that nothing happens on board on an odd hour. Except for maybe a headsail change or a reef, throwing the schedule off for the guys trying to catch up on their sleep.

So we will continue the slog, waiting for our chance to tack and make headway toward the ice gates and Cape Horn. Everyone is anxious for that moment. "Only 10 more hours". Yea right!

Volvo Ocean Race

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