Thursday, 12 March 2009
Erle Williams checks the trim to leeward, onboard PUMA Ocean Racing, 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 Rick Deppe
Cape Horn doesn't exist
Living conditions onboard are once again deteriorating as we start heading back on a more southerly course towards the second ice-gate and Cape Horn.
Inside the boat, moisture and condensation is gradually creeping into the back of the boat where we live. Up to now the water has been somewhat isolated to the bow and to leeward, I’m beginning to get worried that It will soon start playing havoc with all the equipment here in the media station and I'm tempted to just pack everything up and close down operations for the next few days until things start to dry out a bit.
Of course that’s not an option. This next week of sailing has the potential to be the most exciting of the whole race. We are in a neck and neck race with Ericsson 4 and as for Ericsson 3, well anything might happen. They gained 300+ plus miles on us, so maybe they could lose them.
Right now on deck the boys have just a little more water to deal with than I do down here. It's seriously wet and wild onboard the Il Mostro and the vessel is blasting along between 18 and 24 knots, all the while jumping around and banging in the most violent way imaginable.
Chart showing Cape Horn, onboard PUMA Ocean Racing, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.
Capey (Andrew Cape – navigator) says things should ease up a bit tomorrow as we approach the gate and then resume once again with vengeance as we approach the now seemingly imaginary Cape Horn. To quote Jerry Kirby, ‘every time I ask it seems to be a thousand miles further away than the last time I asked.’ I told him to stop asking. We've been thinking and talking about it for so long now that I'm starting to wonder if its still there, although, having said that, there is a paper chart thrown nonchalantly on the chart table that appears to have the southern tip of South America in the lower right corner..... For the last week we’ve staring at a chart with New Zealand in the lower left. I'm surprised Capey even bothered, he's done this trip so many times you would think he knows the way by now!
I would go so far as to say that the Il Mostro crew are normal..... Particularly about what they eat! Well not any more, it seems that every scrap of food onboard is being devoured. We haven't been able to ascertain if the sudden interest in food is due to a new menu put together by Rob Greenhalgh or if it has something to do with the fact that the guys appear to be disappearing before my eyes.
No sooner are the day snacks put out than they disappear up on deck never to be seen again. I've witnessed people using a finger to get the last of the spaghetti sauce out of the bottom of the serving cooler. As Casey (Casey Smith/USA) said to me today, ‘there's nothing that two minute noodles can’t fix.’
Volvo Ocean Race